The camp of Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo has opposed a move of former senator Ferdinand Marcos to put the 2016 poll ballots in Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces under technical examination, saying it will violate the Supreme Court (SC) rules on election protests.
Romulo Macalintal, lawyer for Robredo, made the stand in an October 12 comment filed before the SC–sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal—in response to Marcos’ pleading that asked tribunal to order the technical examination of the ballots and other documents from the May 2016 elections.
The electoral tribunal had granted Marcos’ request to recount ballots in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, the three provinces chosen by the former senator as those allegedly best exemplifying poll fraud in accordance with rules of the tribunal.
“Marcos now wants to confuse the issues. Worse, he is trying to circumvent the rules by adding the three ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] provinces under the guise of asking only for the technical examination of election paraphernalia. Such a ploy is a clear circumvention of the rules,” Macalintal said in a statement.
He noted that the electoral tribunal decided in a ruling on August 29 that conducting a technical examination of election paraphernalia in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur is premature and such can be done only after Marcos has shown sufficient recovery in his pilot provinces Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
“If Marcos is allowed to conduct [the]technical examination from these three ARMM provinces, he would in effect be actually having six pilot provinces. Circumvention of the law is never countenanced as it is a clear sign of bad faith,” Macalintal said.
“Courts should not assist someone like Marcos in achieving an improper purpose,” he added.
Robredo beat Marcos in the six provinces: Maguindanao, 220,125-80,591; Lanao del Sur, 180,539-56,243; Basilan, 77,321-32,326; Camarines Sur, 664,190-41,219; Negros Oriental, 255,598-66,506; and Iloilo, 137,662-33,778.
Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo are known bailiwicks of the Liberal Party, the political party of Robredo.
In the final tally, Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes.