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PET decision over Marcos protest puzzles Robredo camp

The Robredo camp is set to file a motion for reconsideration following the decision of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to deny the vice president's petition to dismiss former Sen. Bongbong Marcos' election protest against her. Philstar.com/Jonathan Asuncion, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), usually dismisses election protests with similar allegations by former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday.

Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal noted that the high court has dismissed similar cases before.

"Similar election protests with similar allegations by Marcos have been dismissed by the Supreme Court. Why is it that in this particular case we allow a similar protest to proceed?" Macalintal said in an interview with ANC's Hot Copy on Headstart.

The lawyer cited the election protest that former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas filed against former Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010.

In a protest filed July 2010, Roxas alleged that election results used for Binay's proclamation as vice president did not reflect actual votes due to a high incidence of null and misread votes in the certificates of canvass in all precincts nationwide.

In August 2016, the PET dismissed Roxas' protest for being moot and academic.

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"Nothing has been done in the said election protest filed by Roxas. Not a single file has been examined. Hindi naman napatunayan yung mga allegations and that is precisely the argument before the Supreme Court," Macalintal said.

The Robredo camp is set to file a motion for reconsideration following the PET decision to deny the vice president's counter-protest to junk Marcos' complaint.

Macalintal, however, stressed that the allegations of Marcos in the protest do not support any ground to open ballot boxes used in the May 2016 elections.

"We do not question the jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. What we are saying is the rule itself in the PET states that the allegations [should be] very, very specific. If it is too general, if it is too broad, then that is not the kind of protest that we have to proceed because it is as if you are allowing the party to fish for evidence," the counsel said.

The vice president's camp is ready to proceed to preliminary conference if the tribunal denies their motion for reconsideration.

"Wala naman kami problema. We always trust the Supreme Court, the entire membership of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. We believe in their integrity, in their competence, in their fairness in deciding this case," Macalintal said.

The Robredo camp remains confident that the vice president will win the case.

"Hindi kami natatakot sa kaso na ito. We are very confident that after all these processes, Vice President Robredo will still emerge as the winner," the lawyer said.

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