By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to immediately order the panel of commissioners to constitute itself and subsequently conduct a preliminary conference with regard to his election protect against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a seven-page motion, Marcos invoked Rule 56 of the 2010 PET Rules mandating the panel of commissioners to fix the date for the reception of evidence and the submission of the affidavits of the witnesses by setting a preliminary conference together with the parties in the case.
The panel of commissioners chaired by retired Associate Justice Jose Vitug was earlier created by PET to assist it in the expeditious disposition of the election protest.
“Unfortunately, despite the lapse of more than five months since the termination of the revision proceedings for the pilot provinces in this election protest, the designated hearing commissioners of the Honorable Tribunal have yet to set the preliminary conference in this case for the purpose of fixing the date for the reception of evidence and the submission of the affidavits of the witnesses,” Marcos said, in his seven-page urgent motion filed through his lawyer George Garcia.
The pilot provinces—Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental—cover a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.
Marcos argued that the grant of his motion is consistent with the PET’s mandate to ensure a prompt and expeditious resolution of the election protest.
“Public interest demands that this electoral controversy be resolved with dispatch to determine once and for all the genuine choice of the electorate for the contested position,” the former lawmaker said.
On June 29, 2016, Marcos filed the election protest, claiming that Robredo’s camp cheated in the automated polls in May that year.
In his protest, Marcos contested the results from 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clusters, covering 27 provinces and cities.
Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.