By Adrian Stewart Co | Panay News
MANILA – The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to respond within 20 days to the still unresolved issues in the electoral protest lodged against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The PET’s action was based on the third cause of action in Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s petition seeking to nullify votes from Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao due to alleged poll fraud and terrorism.
The 12 judges present during the en banc session on Tuesday have unanimously ordered Comelec to report if there were petitions filed for failure of elections in these contested provinces.
If petitions were lodged, the PET asked Comelec for updates if these were granted or denied. The justices also asked the poll body to submit the results if special elections were held in these areas and if there was a failure of elections.
In his electoral protest filed a month after the election day in 2016, Marcos urged PET to nullify the votes from these Mindanao provinces for “massive fraud,” citing Comelec’s technical examination of the results.
Marcos also questioned the poll results following his claim of “widespread presence of terrorism, violence, threats, coercion, force, intimidation, and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 clustered precincts.”
Apart from Comelec, PET also directed the Office of Solicitor General Jose Calida to give their legal opinions to “arrive at a full, fair, and efficient resolution.”
The PET asked them if the tribunal can declare an annulment of elections without special elections and if it can declare failure of elections and order the conduct of special elections. They were also asked if PET will infringe on Comelec’s mandate if it declares failure of elections.
Marcos filed an electoral protest against Robredo on June 30, 2016, questioning the results of the 2016 vice presidential polls. Robredo was proclaimed as the winner after clinching a lead of 263,473 votes against Marcos./PN