philstar - SC gives green light for Bongbong protest

17 February 2017

By Evelyn Macairan | philstar 

The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the electoral protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo to proceed, rejecting her plea to have the case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The SC, convened as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), said it has jurisdiction over the case as mandated by the Constitution.

In questioning PET jurisdiction over the electoral protest, Robredo said the matter should have been raised before Congress when it was still acting as the National Board of Canvassers.

Robredo had also sought the dismissal of the case for “being insufficient in form and substance.” She also cited failure of the Marcos camp to specify in detail her questionable acts or omissions.

But the PET pointed out that under Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution pertaining to PET rules, “the tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the President or Vice President of the Philippines.”

In an eight-page resolution dated Jan. 24 but released only yesterday, the PET ruled that the sufficiency in form and substance of Marcos’ election protest is beyond question.

“On the matter of the sufficiency of the protest, the same [is] already beyond dispute. With the issuance of the summons, the Tribunal has found the protest to be sufficient in form and substance,” the ruling read.

“The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” the PET ruled.

Marcos filed the case last June 29 to contest the result of the vice presidential race allegedly won by Robredo through cheating. Marcos lost to Robredo by over 260,000 votes.

He asked the PET to annul about a million votes cast in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao. Robredo filed her response last August seeking the dismissal of the protest.

“We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward. There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice presidential race last May,” Marcos spokesman Victor Rodriguez said. “We just want the truth to come out. It’s that simple.”