Week 243: February 22 - 28, 2021

On 17 February 2021, BBM received a Motion for Reconsideration (with Leave of Court) from the Office of the Solicitor General, asking the Tribunal to reconsider its Motion to Inhibit Associate Justice Marvic M. V. F. Leonen and to immediately re-raffle the protest to another Member.

The OSG explained "we must not lose sight of the fact that what is at stake is the determination of the expression of the will of the Filipino people when they cast their votes in 2016 for the Vice Presidency." It is therefore acting as the People's Tribune because the protest was not just a private contest between two individuals. "The Motion for Inhibition is apolitical and intended purely for the preservation of the neutrality in the determination of the true will of the Filipino people."

The OSG further said the motion "was a respectful yet firm call for Honorable Associate Justice Leonen" to voluntary inhibit himself. Accordingly, Justice Leonen's "refusal to inhibit, given the political stakes involved, will destroy the reputation of an independent Judiciary."

(click here to see the 17 February 2021 Motion for Reconsideration from the OSG)

After 243 weeks (or roughly 1,705 days) :

On 16 February 2021, the Supreme Court issued a Press Briefer announcing the dismissal of BBM’s election protest.  This was followed by a press conference wherein SC Public Information Office Atty. Brian Keth Hosaka also announced the dismissal of BBM's protest.  The SC spokesman told members of the media that the PET would release its written decision “in due course”.

Below are some of the highlights of the 4 ½ year election protest :

On 5 March 2019, the PET finished the MANUAL recount of ballots in all the clustered precincts in BBM’s three (3) pilot provinces, namely Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.  It took the PET 11 months to complete the MANUAL recount of the said 3 provinces [2 April 2018 to 5 March 2019].

The PET also concluded the PRELIMINARY APPRECIATION (“PA”) phase of the election protest.  During the PA stage, the parties are supposed to submit their OBJECTIONS to the ballots which were MANUALLY counted so that the PET will be able to REVIEW and RULE on the said objections.  In reality, however, this NEVER happened because on 9 September 2019, Associate Justice Caguioa SUDDENLY and UNILATERALLY released his UNOFFICIAL report to members of the media and recommended that the election protest be DISMISSED because of Rule 65 of the PET Rules.

Had BBM been ALLOWED to present his objections during the PA stage, he would have presented evidence that majority of the ballots were UNREADABLE because they were :

• wet
 covered with dried fish & garbage
 burned with cigarette butts
• had battery fluids in them
 and so much more!

When it came to the READABLE ballots, BBM’s revisors discovered that :

 majority of the ballots contained SHADINGS of 25% or less
 there were FAKE BALLOTS in the audit logs

Rule 65 states that the PET may dismiss an election protest if “upon examination of such ballots and proof, and after making reasonable allowances, the Tribunal is convinced that, taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter- protestant will most probably fail to make out his case”.  If the complaining party fails to prove his case, the election protest may forthwith be dismissed, without further consideration of the other provinces mentioned in the protest.

On 15 October 2019, the Supreme Court (voting 11-2) released a Resolution directing the parties to submit a Memorandum on the following matters within 20 working days :

1. To give their comments on the revision report in BBM’s 3 pilot provinces, namely, Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental; and

2. To explain their position on BBM’s Third Cause of Action, which is the annulment of election results in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

Since neither BBM or Robredo were allowed to participate in the “appreciation [of votes] stage [PA] the Supreme Court, on 5 November 2019 allowed the parties to photocopy the voluminous annexes (approx 16,000 pages) which formed the basis of the Caguioa report.  Invoking due process, the Supreme Court required the parties to submit their Memorandum 20 days AFTER they finished viewing and photocopying the said annexes.

On 19 December 2019, both BBM and Robredo filed their respective Memoranda.

The protest remained in limbo for almost 10 months.

After this long hiatus the PET, on 30 September 2020, directed the OSG and COMELEC to submit a report on the various anomalies that allegedly transpired in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao during the 2016 elections.  The PET also sought the OSG and COMELEC’s opinion on whether or not the high Tribunal had the power to rule on the annulment of elections in the 3 ARMM provinces.  Both agencies replied in the affirmative.

Despite this, the PET dismissed the case in its entirety.

– – – – –

Listed below are the “sensitive” and important issues surrounding BBM’s protest :

1. Whether or not to apply the 25% shading threshold percentage or the 50% shading threshold percentage in the recounting of votes

Robredo’s Motion to Direct the Head Revisors to Apply the 25% threshold percentage in the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots

• In a Resolution dated 10 April 2018, the PET denied Robredo’s Ex Parte Motion.

(click here to see the 10 April 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 24 April 2018, the PET required BBM and the COMELEC to comment on Robredo’s Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.

(click here to see the 24 April 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 2 May 2018, Robredo filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.

(click here to see the 2 May 2018 Urgent Motion from Robredo)

• On 28 May 2018, BBM filed his Opposition to Robredo’s Motion

(click here to see the 28 May 2018 Opposition from BBM)

• On 6 July 2018, BBM received a Manifestation from the Office of the Solicitor General.

(click here to see the 6 July 2018 Manifestation from the OSG)

• In a Resolution dated 24 July 2018, the PET resolved to note the OSG’s Manifestation and Motion

(click here to see the 24 July 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 26 July 2018, BBM received a Comment from the COMELEC

(click here to see the 26 July 2018 Comment from the COMELEC)

N.B.
Although the PET did not CATEGORICALLY decide on the 25% versus 50% shading threshold, they instructed the revisors – on 25 September 2018 — to just refer to the Election Returns :

• On 25 September 2018, BBM received a Notice from the PET directing Head Revisors to refer to the election returns to verify the total number of votes as read and counted by the voting counting machine.

(click here to see the 25 September 2018 Notice from the PET)

2. What to do with the wet & unreadable ballots 

• In a Resolution dated 5 June 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 5 June 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 26 June 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 26 June 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 6 July 2018, BBM filed a Strong Manifestation with Motion regarding regarding the use of decrypted ballot images in the revision proceedings.

(click here to see the 6 July 2018 Strong Manifestation from BBM)

•  In a Resolution dated 10 July 2018, the PET resolved to note BBM’s Strong Manifestation but deny his Motion to hold in abeyance the use of decrypted ballot images in the revision proceedings.

(click here to see the 10 July 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 19 July 2018, BBM filed a Strong Opposition regarding the use of decrypted ballot images in the revision proceedings.

(click here to see the 19 July 2018 Strong Opposition from BBM)

• In a Resolution dated 24 July 2018, the PET resolved to direct the COMELEC to comment on BBM’s Strong Opposition regarding the use of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 24 July 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 31 July 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 31 July 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 14 August 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 14 August 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 17 August 2018, BBM received a Motion from the COMELEC asking for an extension of time within which to file its Comment.

(click here to see the 17 August 2018 Motion from the COMELEC)

• In a Resolution dated 28 August 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the  28 August 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 30 August 2018, BBM received COMELEC’s Comment stating that the ballot images are not faithful reproduction of the original ballots but are instead the “true and genuine representation and captured images of the official ballots themselves.

(click here to see the 30 August 2018 Comment from the COMELEC)

• In a Resolution dated 4 September 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 4 September 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 11 September 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 11 September 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 18 September 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 18 September 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 25 September 2018, BBM received a Notice from the PET denying his Strong Opposition regarding the use of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 25 September 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 5 October 2018, BBM filed a Manifestation of Appreciation with Omnibus Motion for partial reconsideration of the denial of his Strong Opposition.

(click here to see the 5 October 2018 Manifestation with Omnibus Motion from BBM)

• In a Resolution dated 9 October 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 9 October 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 16 October 2018, the PET resolved to note BBM’s Manifestation with Omnibus Motion and direct Robredo and the COMELEC to comment.

(click here to see the 16 October 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 16 October 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 16 October 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 6 November 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 6 November 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 6 November 2018, BBM recieved the COMELEC’s Motion for extension of time within which to file a comment.

(click here to see the 6 November 2018 Motion from the COMELEC)

• In a Resolution dated 13 November 2018, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 13 November 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 22 November 2018, BBM received Robredo’s Comment and Oppostion.

(click here to see the 22 November 2018 Comment from Robredo)

• In a Resolution dated 4 December 2018, the PET resolved to note the COMELEC’s Comment and required BBM to reply thereon.

(click here to see the 4 December 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 5 December 2018, BBM received the COMELEC’s Comment, stating BBM’s claim has “no leg to stand on.”

(click here to see the 5 December 2018 Comment from the COMELEC)

• On 20 December 2018, BBM filed his Consolidated Reply.

(click here to see the 20 December 2018 Consolidated Reply from BBM)

• In a Resolution dated 8 January 2019, the PET resolved to allow the revision of decrypted ballot images.

(click here to see the 8 January 2019 Resolution from the PET)

• In a Resolution dated 29 January 2019, the PET resolved to note BBM’s Consolidated Reply.

(click here to see the 29 January 2019 Resolution from the PET)

N.B.
From Day 1, BBM’s position has always been as follows: because of the presence of squares instead of ovals in the ballot images, the same are no longer faithful images of the original paper ballots. Since these “decrypted” images have been compromised, they do not reflect the true will of the voting public.

3. COMELEC’s request to lift the Precautionary Protection Order (PPO) with respect to the Election Management System (EMS) Servers

• In a Resolution dated 17 April 2018, the PET required BBM and Robredo to comment on COMELEC’s request.

(click here to see the 17 April 2018 Resolution from the PET)

• On 25 May 2018, BBM filed his Opposition to COMELEC’s request.

(click here to see the 25 May 2018 Opposition from BBM)

• On 20 July 2018, BBM received a Reply from the COMELEC.

(click here to see the 20 July 2018 Reply from the COMELEC)

• To date, Robredo has NOT yet filed any comment regarding the above issue.

N.B.
The Election Management System (EMS) is the “brain” of any election system. It is here where the ballot images are generated and where the SD cards and computers for the different provinces are programmed. It is important to preserve the data in the EMS so the parties can easily track down any “hanky panky” that was done during the May 2016 elections.

• In a Resolution dated 24 July 2018, the PET resolved to lift the Precautionary Protection Order (PPO) on the Election Management System (EMS) servers.

(click here to see the 24 July 2018 Resolution from the PET)

4. BBM’s Third Cause of Action

• In a Resolution dated 29 August 2017, the PET directed BBM to submit a new list of witnesses for the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and within five (5) days.

(click here to see the 29 August 2017 Resolution from the PET)

• On 11 September 2017, BBM filed his Compliance and submitted his list of witnesses.

(click here to see the 11 September 2017 Compliance from BBM)

• In a Resolution dated 19 September 2017, the PET required BBM to “STRICTLY COMPLY with their directive that he identify his witnesses in the corresponding clustered precincts within a FINAL and NON-EXTENDIBLE period of five (5) days from notice.”

> It is worth mentioning that on 11 September 2017, BBM had already submitted 171 names of potential wirtnesses to the PET.

(click here to see the 19 September 2017 Resolution from the PET)

• On 9 October 2017, BBM complied with the PET’s directive and submitted 7,356 names of witnesses for the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur & Maguindanao.

(click here to see the 9 October 2017 Compliance from BBM)

• In a Resolution dated 7 November 2017, the PET “noted” BBM’s Compliance.

(click here to see the 7 November 2017 Resolution from the PET)

• On 12 December 2018, BBM filed his Extremely Urgent Manifestation of Grave Concern with Omnibus Motion requesting for the issuance of subpoena duces tecum to the COMELEC-ERSD to produce and submit the dactyloscopic and questioned document reports and such other relevant documents involving the technical examination conducted on the Voter’s Registration Records (VRRs) against the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List with Voting Records (EDCVLs) of 508 established precincts in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao relative to the protest of Tan vs. Hataman. BBM stated that he intends to use the said results as part of his evidence in support of his third cause of action, which is the Annulment of votes for the position of Vice President in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.

(click here to see the 12 December 2018 Extremely Urgent Manifestation from BBM)

• On 18 January 2019, BBM received Robredo’s Counter-Manifestation with Comment and Opposition to BBM’s Extremely Urgent Motion.

(click here to see the 18 January 2019 Counter-Manifestation from Robredo)

• On 25 January 2019, BBM received a Supplemental Manifestation from Robredo.

(click here to see the 25 January 2019 Supplemental Manifestation from Robredo)

• On 28 January 2019, the PET directed Robredo and the COMELEC to comment on BBM’s Extremely Urgent Manifestation.

(click here to see the 28 January 2019 Resolution from the PET)

• On 11 February 2019, BBM received a Manifestation and Compliance from Robredo stating she previously filed her Comment and Opposition prior to the PET Resolution directing her to comment to BBM’s Extremely Urgent Manifestation.

(click here to see the 11 February 2019 Manifestation from Robredo)

• On 13 February 2019, BBM received a Manifestation [in lieu of Comment on BBM’s Extremely Urgent Manifestation of Grave Concern with Omnibus Motion] from the COMELEC, stating the Second Division is yet to issue a Resolution or Order regarding the results of Sakur Tan’s Motion for Technical Examination. The COMELEC further said as this is the case, they are invoking the sub judice rule.

(click here to see the 13 February 2019 Manifestation from the COMELEC)

• On 26 March 2019, BBM filed his Consolidated Reply with Urgent Motion to Resolve Protestant’s Motion wherein he reiterated his Extremely Urgent Manifestation with Omnibus Motion, which was filed in December 2018.

(click here to see the 26 March 2019 Consiladated Reply with Urgent Motion from BBM)

• On 17 July 2019, the PET resolved to “defer action” on BBM’s Extremely Urgent Manifestation with Omnibus Motion and Consolidated Reply with Urgent Motion “until such time that an initial determination has been made on the protest” in accordance with Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules.

(click here to see the 17 July 2019 Notice from the PET)

N.B.
Despite the lapse of 10 months, and the submission of 7,356 potential witnesses, we are respectfully waiting for the PET to issue a directive on BBM’s Third Cause of Action (ie: “Annulment of votes for the position of Vice-President in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao)