The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are expected to submit to the Supreme Court this week their opinions on the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.
The Manila Times learned from well-placed sources in the Supreme Court that the court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), wants comments from the Solicitor General and Comelec as it deliberates on whether it can annul votes from the poll precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan where Marcos claimed that irregularities took place.
The tribunal also wants to be certain that a declaration of failure of elections it might issue does not infringe on the Comelec’s constitutional mandate to conduct the elections.
The case has been pending before the tribunal for four years and three months.
Supreme Court Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen, who was named the ponente of the Marcos protest last year, has asked the OSG and Comelec for their opinions before moving ahead with the case.
A group of magistrates had claimed that Leonen had been sitting on the Marcos protest and other cases.
They said Leonen had 37 pending cases, the biggest backlog among Supreme Court members.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, however, defended Leonen, saying each magistrate has his own way of handling cases.
After Leonen took over the case on Oct. 29, 2019, he required the Marcos and Robredo camps to submit their respective memorandums last January.
The two sides complied, but the case has not moved since.
In his memorandum, Marcos requested the tribunal to examine the signatures of voters from 2,756 clustered precincts in the three Mindanao provinces.
Meanwhile, Robredo asked the high court to dismiss the Marcos protest because there was no “substantial recovery” of the tainted results.
The tribunal voted 11 to 2 on Oct. 15, 2019, to reject the plea of Robredo and the recommen-dation of Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa to dismiss the Marcos protest outright.
Leonen, however, convinced 11 justices, to go with his recommendation for the parties to file their comments instead, the court insiders said.
Marcos lost the vice presidency to Robredo by only 263,473 votes.