GMA News Online – Belmonte ‘disappointed’ over SC ‘failure’ to decide on VP electoral protest with finality

By ERWIN COLCOL | GMA News Online

Quezon City Representative Kit Belmonte on Wednesday expressed disappointment over what he described as the “failure” of the Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to resolve the electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo by former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

Belmonte made the remark during the House plenary deliberations on the proposed 2021 budget of the Judiciary department.

The congressman said that while he does not intend to interfere in the process of the court, the failure of the Supreme Court to decide on the case with finality is “adding to the disruption of the stability of our political system.”

“While we recognize the importance of the independence of the judiciary and the non-diminution of its budget, I would like to express at this point my personal disappointment over the Supreme Court’s failure to decide with finality the electoral protest in the case of the Vice President of our Republic,” he said.

For Belmonte, Robredo’s being the winner of the vice presidential race in the 2016 elections has already been resolved.

“Doon sa electoral protest recount na para sa mga laymen ay para na ring preliminary investigation, ay lumaki pa ang kanyang panalo,” he said.

“Sa aking kaunting karanasan sa practice ay pwede na rin ma-dismiss. Good as pang-dismissal na yan ng kaso,” he added.

Nevertheless, Belmonte said he would defer to the wisdom of lawyers and of the Supreme Court.

“Nais ko lang maintindihan, nais kong maintindindihan ng mga kababayan natin kung bakit hindi pa nila tuldukan with finality ang issue na ito,” he added.

The Supreme Court, acting as PET, recently ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment within 20 days on issues related Marcos’ third cause of action—the annulment of elections in Lano del Sur, Basilan, Maguindanao due to alleged terrorism, intimidation, voter harassment, and pre-shading of ballots.

The PET also ordered the Comelec, as well as the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to comment on whether the tribunal has the power to declare the annulment of elections without special elections; a failure of elections, and order the conduct of special elections.

The PET likewise asked the Comelec and the OSG whether a declaration of failure of elections, and an order for special elections, would violate the Comelec’s mandate under the Constitution. — BM, GMA News

 

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