Court upholds Marcos protest

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THE Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has allowed former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s election protest against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to proceed, declaring it “sufficient in form and substance.”

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In an eight-page resolution dated January 24, the tribunal dismissed Robredo’s claim that Marcos’ accusations of cheating and vote-buying were just a “series of wild accusations, guesses and surmises.”

The tribunal also rejected Robredo’s argument that it had no jurisdiction over the case. Robredo claimed Marcos improperly raised before the electoral tribunal the authenticity of Certificates of Canvass (COCs), which she said should have been raised in a pre-proclamation case filed before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers.

“Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, in relation to Rule 13 of the 2010 PET Rules, provides that the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all elections contests relating to the election, returns, and disqualifications of the President or Vice President of the Philippines. The phrase ‘election, returns and qualifications’ refers to all matters affecting the validity of the contestee’s title, which includes questions on the validity, authenticity and correctness of the COCs,” the tribunal said.

‘Procedural matter’

Marcos spokesman and lawyer Victor Rodriguez said the tribunal effectively denied the motion of Robredo to conduct a preliminary hearing on the election protest or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction.

“We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward. There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice-presidential race last May,” said Rodriguez in a statement.

Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, downplayed the significance of the resolution, saying it was a procedural matter.

“It only means that the PET will proceed with the case. It does not in any way reflect the validity or merits of any allegation of fraud or irregularity contesting the proclamation of Vice President Leni Robredo,” Macalintal said. “As to the veracity of [Marcos’] allegations, nothing yet has been proved.”

“The case would still go through the usual tedious and lengthy process of revision and recount of the ballots,” Macalintal said.

“The ballot boxes and their contents would be retrieved from various provinces to be brought to the PET for the recount. Meanwhile, we have enough time to study the remedies available,” he added.

Not out of time

Marcos, who lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes, accuses the camp of the former Camarines Sur representative of benefiting from “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes for the position of vice president in the 2016 polls.

The tribunal also dismissed the plea of Marcos that Robredo’s response to the election protest must be junked for being filed out of time.

Records showed Robredo received the summons and election protest on August 3, 2016, not on August 2.
“Consequently, the protestee (Robredo) had until August 13, 2016 to file her answer; and considering that August 13, 2016 was a Saturday, the filing of verified answer and counter-protest on August 15, 2016 was timely because that was the next working day,” the tribunal said.

WITH JOMAR CANLAS AND LLANESCA T. PANTI

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8 Comments

  1. The Reds and the Yellows will be noisy again. Any candidate has the right to contest what happened. it has been happening in the US as well so people should just remain calm about these things. Robredo’s camp has the right to defend themselves and counter argue. That is democracy and that is why people can protest and have mass actions, as long as these activities are not violent. Anyway, I feel hopeless for the Philippines already no matter who is at helm. I am glad that I am nearing my twilight years so it is up to this young generation to steer this country to the kind of future they want. I did my part already in my youth to contribute to Philippine society. It seems we can never be united which is also happening now in the US.

  2. cristita Rendora on

    This case must be decided as soon as possible to ferret out the truth. Cheating should not be allowed to pester the true decision of the electorate

  3. Patulan ko nga ito dahil I will give realistic answers and I hope the authors of this article will publish my opinions. Former Senator Marcos complaints before the Tribunal are : Pre-shading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading cards and unaccounted votes for Vice President. These are the four (4) major complaints by the former Senator. If the Marcos camp can show a picture or tapes that pre shading of votes occurred in one or two precincts somewhere in Mindanao, Robredo’s lawyers can claim that it was beyond their control and proving their involvement (yellow regime) would be different story and cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Besides, the pre-shaded votes, if there are any, would be very negligible as far as the overall vote count for the whole country. It would be like few grains of salt dropped in Pacific Ocean.

    Malfunctioning Vote Counting Machines: The Robredo’s lawyers should ask for clarification on this issue such as in what manner, shape or form these VCM malfunctioned? Was the VCM malfunctioned during the transmission of votes to the main servers to be stored? It seems like the result of slow internet and should be addressed to the internet provider during the election and this, once again, beyond the control of Robredo’s camp. How did it affect the Vice- President votes? None whatsoever.

    Pre-loaded secure digital (SD) cards: Marcos’ camp claimed that they found DATA on all the unused VCM and SD cards during their inspection at the warehouse where they stored the VCMs. Here is the explanation – Upon the manufacture of SD cards, are like blank sheet of papers which need to be formatted into logically sectors so data can be entered and found quickly. Therefore, the data found on unused SD cards are “instructions” because they were already formatted and ready for use. NOTE: Every “Operating System” has its unique procedures for formatting magnetic media that cannot be used by other operating system.

    Misleading votes and unaccounted votes for position of Vice President: Again, all these accusations are beyond the control of Robredo’s camp because everything can be pointed out to the VCM, such as the Optical Card Readers. In order for the machines to read the voting cards, the circle next to the candidate’s name must be shaded at least 75% in order for the OCR to reads as a legitimate vote. There were many votes that were counted manually, that did not meet the 75% or 3/4 requirements that can be clearly seen by the naked eyes, that should have been counted as votes, but the OCR rejected them because it did not meet the OCR program requirements. If two circles were shaded for vice president, the OCR will null it as well.

    • LOL so youre saying that every marcos complaints …. that can not be proven since there is a fire proof alibi of “beyond control of” . How about the zero votes in Mindanao? can you explain to me how did that thing happen?

      let me guess 260k vote lead by Robredo is indeed just a grain of salt compared to the massive ocean of votes shaved and un accounted. Marcos doesnt need to go far looking for votes he just picks one or 2 province where there is a documented vote manipulation (its up t Macoy to show the proof) then that lead will stand no chance when there is a recount.

      Make it more simpler if they remove the places where there is zero votes registered for Marcos …. which again is statistically imposible can then Marcos easily overtake the manipulated votes of Robredo.

      After all the total of 260k+ lead is signed by Congress when they proclaimed Robredo as the winner so If Marcos can show proof and overtake that tiny lead…. then we are looking at the rightful winner and a new VP truly voted and elected by the people.

    • Brod you should go to comelect & you can be a good mentor to them.
      or go to the hearing either & explain as you can…..

      Not bad, but you are just a longwinded echo.. your explanation does not bear contest. . they knew where it goes wrong!

      Hurray to you if you can redirect who is the culprit in the cheating…

    • You are prejudging already of the outcome of the case. This a legitimate case let the PET crack their heads and resolve this case. There’s no grandstanding in this case because it has a legitimacy in form and would likely happen in the real world not virtual one. So lets stay on the sideline and only howl wrong if the judgement is not right,

  4. It took the supreme court half a year to decide on what is timely? and what happens to comelec and smartmatic, will be decided by he next millineum? so what is so supreme about these a.h, kapal ng mukha?