Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), not to dismiss his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Surely, allowing the election protest to proceed would be the best way of removing any doubt as to who was the real candidate chosen by the electorate. Barring the proceedings due to technicalities and procedures accomplishes nothing except possibility to suppress the will of the majority,” read his motion for reconsideration dated May 6 that was filed by his lawyers.
The motion for reconsideration was filed the PET unanimously dismissed last Feb. 16 his election protest.
“Rule 65 of this Tribunal’s Rules mandates an election protest to be dismissed when the results of the revision and appreciation of the ballots in the pilot provinces do not support the allegations of fraud or irregularities,” read the decision penned by Justice Marvic Leonen.
Leonen said the recount of ballots of the three pilot provinces–Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Oriental–that Marcos himself chose showed that Robredo won with a margin of 263,473 votes.
The magistrate also pointed out that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and not the PET that can act on Marcos’s third cause of action in his election protest, which is to declare the annulment of election results in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan due to “terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters, pre-shading of ballots, and substitution of voters.”
“With all due respect, the Majority Opinion committed a grave error when it simply disregard the right of protestant Marcos to present testimonial and documentary evidence for his Third Cause of Action in violation of his constitutional right to due process,” Marcos stated.
“It is an integral part of the procedural due process that the parties be given the opportunity to present all relevant evidence so as to settle all the issues involved,” he added.
The former senator maintained that the decision of the Comelec to dismiss the petitions seeking the declare failure of elections in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan in the 2016 polls is “irrelevant and immaterial to the resolution of his Third Cause of Action.”
He reminded that the SC itself made the distinction between the declaration of failure and annulment of elections in the case of former Samar Rep. Harlin Abayon which stated that “electoral tribunals only annuls the election results connected with the election contest before it, whereas the declaration of failure of elections by the COMELEC relaters to the entire elections in the concerned precinct or political unit.”
“Although the petitions to declare failure of elections in the Provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan were dismissed in conection with the 2016 National and Local Elections, it does not necessarily follow that there is no basis to annul the election results in these provinces,” he explained.