By Rosette Adel | Philstar.com
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has granted former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s request to set his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, for preliminary conference.
The SC Public Information Office on Wednesday said the preliminary conference is scheduled on June 21 at 2 p.m.
In a preliminary conference, both parties to a case are made to narrow down the conflict officiated by a clerk of court. It is set by a tribunal for speedier disposition of cases.
Last January 26, Marcos through his legal counsel Vic Rodriguez filed a two-page motion before the PET to set the case for preliminary conference so that his poll protest can proceed. Marcos camp said this motion is for PET to dispose the incident “with such dispatch and urgency so that the case will come into motion.”
Marcos, a defeated vice presidential candidate, earlier filed a protest challenging the victory of Robredo in the May 9, 2016 national elections. He questioned the integrity and reliability of the vote counting machines, canvassing units, secure digital cards and other storage devices used for the polling precincts.
Marcos called this protest his “First Cause of Action.”
Last week, Marcos’s camp claimed that Robredo’s camp is intentionally delaying the election protest. This was after Marcos personally paid a cash deposit of about P36 million to cover the cost of a recount in his electoral protest against the vice president while Robredo’s camp asked the court to defer its payment.
Robredo’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said the Marcos camp should not only pay cash deposits of P66 million for the 36,465 clustered precincts but P185 million for all the 92,509 clustered precincts covered by the latter’s poll protest.
For Marcos, however, there would be no more reason for the tribunal not to set a preliminary conference for the electoral protest. Marcos' counsel said their camp will be asked to name three initial provinces that "best exemplifies fraud” during the preliminary conference.