By Evelyn Macairan | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been asked to confirm if there was failure of elections in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao in 2016 due to terrorism and violence, as claimed by vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his poll protest.
In a statement based on a resolution approved by the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on Tuesday, the Comelec was asked to report if there were petitions to declare failure of elections in the three provinces, if special elections were held and the results.
The Comelec and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) were asked to comment if the tribunal could declare a failure of elections and order the holding of special polls without infringing on the mandate of the poll body.
The tribunal said both the poll body and the OSG should comment within a non-extendible period of 20 days from receipt of the PET resolution.
The two agencies were also told to furnish copies of their respective comments to Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos and Robredo were directed to submit their replies within a non-extendible period of 15 days from receipt of the Comelec and OSG comments.
The Marcos camp had earlier said that the annulment of votes in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan would wipe out Robredo’s lead.
Marcos claimed that no actual election took place in protested clustered precincts in the three provinces, where Robredo received 477,985 votes as against the 169,160 that he garnered.
Robredo’s lawyer Bernadette Sardillo said they would comply with the PET order, adding that it would help fasttrack the resolution of Marcos’s electoral protest.
Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez said they welcome the PET’s move, but raised concern that it would only delay the proceedings. With less than two years before the 2022 polls, he said their protest may become moot.
The Comelec, meanwhile, said it has yet to receive the PET resolution. – Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo