The Philippine Star - PET junks Robredo's 'premature' plea to immediately resolve poll protest

18 July 2019

By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:14 p.m.) — The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, junked Vice President Leni Robredo’s plea to immediately resolve former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s electoral protest against her.

The tribunal held that Robredo’s Urgent Motion to Immediately Resolve all Pending Incidents involving Marcos' poll protest is premature.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s legal counsel, filed the motion last June 13. “Without pre-empting the resolution of the Honorable Tribunal, the result of the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots clearly confirm the victory of protestee Robredo,” their motion read.

But the PET, in its notice of resolution made public Thursday, said: “What protestee seeks is the immediate resolution of the instant protest.”

“[T]he Tribunal has yet to complete the proceedings following Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules, which entail judicial recount, revision, and appreciation of the votes cast in protestant’s pilot provinces.”

PET: Robredo’s figures speculative

The PET said that the figures Robredo cited in her plea are “speculative.”

Macalintal, in the motion, also claimed that after the ballot recount, Robredo’s winning margin in the three pilot provinces jumped to 278,215, which is 15,742 votes more than what the 2016 election returns showed.

In the table provided by Macalintal, Marcos received 14,159,535 votes after the recount. This number is 4,191 higher that the election returns. could not independently verify the numbers as the tribunal has yet to release a report or update on the recount.

“In arriving at the figures, protestee presumes that all her claims will be admitted by the Tribunal,” it added.

The PET stressed that it is still in the process of appreciation of the recounted ballots and resolving the motions and objections filed by the parties.

“The Tribunal’s final tally of votes after recount and appreciation has yet to be completed and released,” it added.

Robredo camp: Marcos cannot claim victory yet

Lawyer Bernadette Sardillo, one of Robredo’s legal counsels, lamented the ruling but said they respect PET’s decision.

In a statement, she stressed that their plea was anchored on “the fact that Marcos’ hasn’t proven anything” in the electoral protest.

Sardillo said that they urged for the immediate resolution of the incidents involving the poll protest to stop the spread of misinformation.

“We pushed for the immediate resolution of the case so as to prevent Marcos’ camp from spreading misinformation and propaganda to deceive the public about the genuine results of the 2016 elections, which thèy have been doing from the beginning of this process,” she said.

“Marcos cannot claim victory as the PET only put its decision on hold to validate and confirm the results of the recount from the three pilot provinces,” she added.

The recount of the votes from Camarines Sur, Negors Oriental and Iloilo—Marcos’ identified three pilot provinces—started April 2 last year. Macalintal said the recount of the three provinces ended last March 4.

After the tribunal finishes its recount in the pilot provinces, it will decide whether to proceed in the vote revision on a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in Marcos’ election protest.