Week 63: September 11 – 17, 2017
On 11 September 2017, BBM filed his Compliance and provided the PET with his list of witnesses for Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. He also reserved his right to present additional witnesses and made a formal request for the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum as well as subpooenas testificandum for certain individuals.
On 13 September 2017, BBM received a Manifestation with Urgent Ex-Parte Motion from Robredo wherein she asked the PET to clarify whether BBM should pay for the monthly expenses incurred by COMELEC for the lease of its Sta. Rosa, Laguna, warehouse. She also wanted to know whether BBM should pay for the costs of the Voting Counting Machines (VCMs) because of COMELEC’s contract with Smartmatic.
It must be noted that in the PET’s Resolution dated 29 August 2017, the Tribunal ruled that the monthly expenses of the Sta. Rosa, Laguna warehouse “are not incidental to the retrieval and transportation of ballot boxes to the Tribunal in connection with the instant Protest and Counter-Protest. Hence, there would be no occasion for the Tribunal to charge the same against either of the cash deposits of protestant or protestee.”
With regard to the VCMs in question, the PET already stated that, “Given the collateral nature of protestee’s inquiry, the Tribunal finds such matter to be outside the issues posed in the instant Protest and Counter-Protest. Such matter is more properly within the competence of COMELEC to address. Besides, there is no showing at this time that COMELEC is already demanding such amount from protestee pursuant to the AES Contracts.”
On 12 September 2017, BBM received a Notice from the PET wherein it resolved to:
1. Note the Counter-Manifestation filed by BBM dated 22 August 2017; and
2. Note the Letter from COMELEC regarding the immediate turn-over of its offices located at the ground floor, Palacio del Gobernador Building in Intramuros, Manila because the same would be use by the Office of the President. It also Granted the transfer of the election materials presently stored at the said offices to another location within the COMELEC premises provided that prior notice be given to all the parties in interest so they can observe and participate in the said activities;
On 15 September 2017, BBM filed a Partial Motion for Reconsideration with regard to the PET’s denial of his Motion for Technical Examination dated 10 July 2017.
BBM explained that the technical examination he requested would be limited to comparing the voters’ signatures appearing on the Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL) as against the voters’ signatures appearing on the Voter’s Registration Records (VRRs). He argued that the technical examination involved for the annulment of elections in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao is entirely different from the manual recounting of votes in the 3 pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental. BBM also expressed his willingness to shoulder the administrative expenses that may be incurred for the said technical examination.
In the same Motion, BBM reiterated his previous request that the PET create two (2) additional panels of Commissioners to be assigned to a specific cause of action. The creation of additional panels would not only be beneficial to the PET during the reception of evidence at the trial proper but, more importantly, it would definitely help in speeding up the resolution of the election protest.
On 15 September 2017, BBM filed his Comment to the Preliminary Conference Order and manifested that the said Order faithfully reflected the submissions and reservations he made in his Preliminary Conference Brief and Comment to the Preliminary Conference Guide.
On 15 September 2017, BBM filed his Comment to the Motion for Reconsideration of Zorayda Amelia Alonzo et al. and concurred with the PET’s decision denying their Urgent Motion for Leave to File and Admit Petition-In-Intervention.
BBM emphasized that an election protest is “strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates, based on the grounds of electoral frauds or irregularities.” Therefore, it would be highly unprocedural to allow third parties to intervene in his election protest.
After 63 weeks (or roughly 445 days), we are still waiting for the PET :
• to issue a Retrieval Order [per undertaking # 7 of 21]
• to conduct the manual recounting of votes [per undertaking # 11 of 21]