On 9 October 2017, BBM filed his Compliance and provided the PET with his revised list of witnesses for each of the clustered precincts in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
It is worth mentioning that on 11 September 2017, BBM already gave PET a witnesses list totalling 171 names for the nullification of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. However, a month later or on 5 October 2017, the PET required BBM to submit his witness list on a per clustered precinct basis in the said provinces within 5 non-extendible days. Said the Tribunal :
“Per item (a) of PET Resolution dated September 19, 2017 : NOTE the Manifestation and Compliance (Re: List of Witnesses for the Third Cause of Action) dated September 8, 2017 filed by counsel for protestant Marcos, Jr., but REQUIRE the protestant to STRICTLY COMPLY with the resolution dated August 29, 2017 directing him to identify his witnesses and the concerned clustered precincts subject of their testimonies within a FINAL and NON-EXTENDIBLE period of five (5) days from notice hereof.”
As a result of the 5 day non-extendible deadline, BBM’s legal team burned the midnight oil and TIMELY submitted a 185 page pleading containing the revised witnesses list totalling 7,356 names for the nullification of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
On 10 October 2017, BBM received a Notice from the PET wherein it resolved to:
1. Grant the Motion of the COMELEC for additional time or until 6 October 2017 to comply with the PET’s Show Cause Order;
2. Note and Grant the COMELEC’s Letter requesting for authority to transfer, among others, the book of voters used in the 2016 elections in the Municipality of Agusan del Norte because they transferred office;
3. Note the COMELEC – Balayan, Batangas’s Letter regarding the transfer of ballots in metal boxes that was conducted last 11 September 2017;
4. Note the COMELEC’s Letter regarding the transfer of ballot boxes used in the 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections in Ormoc City to the ground floor of Ormoc City hospital; and
5. Note and Grant the SET’s Letter stating that the HRET was given temporary prior custody of the ballot boxes involved in the election protest cases before it;
On 11 October 2017, BBM received the Compliance from the COMELEC wherein it furnished Robredo with a copy of its Manifestation / Compliance dated 25 May 2017.
On 11 October 2017, BBM received a Motion from the COMELEC requesting for a third extension of time to comply with the PET’s Show Cause Order.
On 11 October 2017, BBM received a Manifestation from the COMELEC informing the parties that the Decryption and Printing of Ballot Images of all the precincts in BBM’s 3 pilot provinces namely, Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental will begin on 23 October 2017, Monday, 9:00 a.m. at the Project Management Office (PMO) of the COMELEC in Intramuros, Manila.
On 12 October 2017, BBM filed his Comment to Robredo’s Manifestation wherein he clarified that he did not abandon his allegations of terrorism, violence, force, threats and intimidation with regard to the Judicial Recounting of Ballots in 22 provinces and 5 highly urbanized cities. BBM clarified that in order to speed up the election protest, he decided not to present testimonial evidence to support his claim because the ballots speak for themselves.
As explained by BBM in his Counter-Manifestation, “the waiver of testimonial evidence is NOT an abandonment of the electoral frauds, anomalies and irregularities alleged in the election protest as these may be proven by the ballots which are ‘the best repository of the sovereign will.’ Hence, in the hierarchy of evidence in election contests, ballots constitute the highest and best evidence of the voters’ will.”
BBM further stated that in the case of Jeremias F. Dayo vs. COMELEC, “the Supreme Court declared that allegations of fraud and irregularities are sufficient grounds for opening the ballot boxes and examining the questioned ballots and that evidence of irregularities is not necessary to justify the revision of ballots.” This ruling of the court was also reinforced in the recent case of Douglas R. Cagas vs. COMELEC, wherein it was underscored that “it is the ministerial duty of the trial court to order the opening of the ballot boxes and the examination and counting of ballots deposited therein when there is an allegation in an election protest that would require the perusal, examination or counting of ballots as evidence.”
(click here to see the 12 October 2017 Comment from BBM) p179 minutes decryption
After 67 weeks (or roughly 473 days), we are still waiting for the PET :
• to issue a Retrieval Order [per undertaking # 7 of 21]
Note that on 29 August 2017, the PET resolved to "Partially Grant [BBM's] Motion for Retrieval only insofar as all precincts in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental are concerned.” [per item “C” of the Resolution]
• to begin the manual recounting of votes for Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental [per undertaking # 11 of 21]
• to resolve our Motion for Reconsideration for the technical examination of the signatures appearing in the Election Day Computerized Voters List [EDCVL] as against the signatures appearing on the Voters Registration Record [VRRs] in connection with the annulment of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.