By Edu Punay | The Philippine Star
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) was asked yesterday to resolve the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Supporters of Marcos belonging to the “Marcos Pa Rin” group held a rally outside the SC compound and urged the PET to settle the dispute in the 2016 vice presidential race 1000 days since the protest was filed.
“We are appealing to our justices of the Supreme Court to expedite the resolution of the case to allow the real vice president to start serving our country. This 1000-day period is not acceptable, especially for us millions who voted for him,” said the group’s leader Frank Esquilon.
The camp of Marcos reiterated the earlier motion calling on the PET to conduct a technical examination of the election returns and Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDVCLs) from the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguidanao.
They referred to the findings of the Voters Identification Division of the Commission on Elections-Election Record and Statistics Department (Comelec-ERSD) which conducted a technical examination in response to the election protest of former Sulu vice governor Abdusakur Tan against ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.
The report showed that in 508 precincts, 40,528 signatures and 3,295 thumbprints in the EDVCLs were not identical with the Voter’s Registration Receipts.
“There is clear evidence of massive cheating in the provinces mentioned in the Comelec report. Ignoring this report would be unfair for the voters and would affect the integrity of our election system,” Esquilon said.
The group also lauded Marcos for choosing to continue with his election protest despite the prodding from various sectors encouraging him to run for office in the upcoming 2019 senatorial elections.
“His decision not to run but rather continue with his protest is truly admirable. This shows a strength of character, something that most of our leaders lack nowadays. A lesser leader would have buckled under that kind of tremendous pressure,” Esquilon said.
The PET has reportedly completed the preliminary revision of votes in the poll protest.
George Garcia, counsel of Marcos, revealed that the PET has already finished the revision in three pilot provinces specified in their poll protest – Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
“The tribunal is now in the stage of appreciation of votes where it is resolving the issues on ballots raised by parties,” he revealed in an interview.
The preliminary recount covers Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, covering a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.
After recount of these three provinces, the PET will decide whether or not to proceed with the recount on a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in the protest of Marcos.
With this development, Garcia said they are optimistic that the tribunal would be able to resolve his protest within the year.
He said they are in fact hopeful that the PET would be able to resolve the case before Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin retires in October.