Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday asked the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to uphold its own rules in deciding on the fate of the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against her.
Through her lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the vice president filed a 23-page manifestation before the PET in light of unconfirmed news reports that it is inclined to order the continuation of the revision and recount of the ballots to cover other provinces subject of the election protest filed by Marcos.
After several deferments, the PET is expected to rule Tuesday, 15 October 2019, on Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguiao’s report on the result of the revision and recount of ballots in three pilot provinces covered by the election protest.
The said report covers the result of the revision and recount of ballots in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur involving 5,415 precincts.
Caguiao is the justice assigned to handle the election protest.
The outcome of the revision and recount of ballots in the test provinces would determine whether PET would proceed in the vote revision on 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in Marcos election protest.
Robredo’s lawyer pointed out that under Rule 65 of the 2010 Rules of the PET, the fate of Marcos’ election protest should be determined by the result of the revision and recount of the ballots covering the pilot provinces.
Under the rule, if Marcos fails to prove his allegations of fraud and irregularities in the three pilot provinces, his election protest must be dismissed.
“Surprisingly, notwithstanding the clear language of Rule 65 of the 2010 Rules of Presidential Electoral Tribunal, rumors abound on the Honorable Tribunal proceeding to the Third Cause of Action despite an alleged finding that protestant Marcos has not made any substantial recovery,” the manifestation read.
The PET rule as far as the camp of Robredo is concerned is not unique considering that the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal have both issued separate rules that mandates the dismissal of an election protest should it determined that the official results will not be affected after the revision of the pilot precincts.
Three cases of action was cited by Marcos in his protest. First, the Automated Elections System (AES) was compromised, hence, the integrity of the AES cannot be relied upon to declare a legitimate winner.
The second requires the revision or manual recount of the actual ballots to determine the votes cast in all the 36,465 protested clustered precincts.
Th third cause of action sought the annulment of election results for the VP position in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan, on the ground of terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts in the areas.
The PET has dismissed Marcos’ first cause of action for being “meaningless and pointless.”