The Manila Times - Electoral tribunal affirms Marcos election protest

16 February 2017

The Manila Times 

The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday welcomed the resolution of the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), affirming its earlier resolution finding his election protest to be “sufficient in form and substance.”

Marcos spokesman and lawyer Victor Rodriguez said the tribunal denied the motion of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to conduct a preliminary hearing on the election protest or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction.

“We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward. There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice presidential race last May,” said Rodriguez in a statement.

In an eight-page resolution dated January 24, 2017, the PET ruled that the sufficiency in form and substance of Marcos’ election protest was beyond question.

“On the matter of the sufficiency of the protest, the same [is]already beyond dispute. With the issuance of the Summons, the Tribunal has found the Protest to be sufficient in form and substance. The Protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” the PET ruled.

The tribunal rejected Robredo’s claim that by virtue of the ruling in the case of Pimentel vs Comelec, Marcos improperly raised the authenticity and due execution of Certificates of Canvass (COCs), which she said should have been raised in a pre-proclamation case filed before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers.

Robredo was mistaken, the court explained, as the Pimentel ruling did not deprive the tribunal of its jurisdiction.

“Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, in relation to Rule 13 of the 2010 PET Rules, provides that the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all elections contests relating to the election, returns, and disqualifications of the President or Vice President of the Philippines. The phrase “election, returns and qualifications” refers to all matters affecting the validity of the contestee’s title, which includes questions on the validity, authenticity and correctness of the COCs,” the tribunal said.