Leni seeks dismissal of Bongbong poll protest

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the election protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a 536-page answer submitted to the SC sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Robredo argued that the election complaint filed by Marcos on June 29 should be dismissed for lack of merit.

Robredo belied the allegations by Marcos of massive cheating in the vice presidential race.

The Vice President said Marcos failed to directly point to her as the one responsible for the supposed electoral fraud.

“There is no evidence nor allegation in Marcos’ protest that would show her direct or indirect participation in any of the alleged incidents of election fraud and that there is nothing to show that at least 50 percent of the ballots cast were affected,” Robredo’s lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Ma. Bernadette Sardillo said.

Robredo said Marcos, in seeking the annulment of around a million votes cast in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao, should prove that at least 50 percent of 88 municipalities and cities or 50 percent of 2,756 clustered precincts had been affected by the alleged poll fraud.

“Marcos’ protest itself reveals the weakness of his position because he merely cited four municipalities in Lanao del Sur, one municipality in Maguindanao and four municipalities in Basilan for a total of only nine areas or 10 percent of the 88 municipalities and cities where he claimed there were irregularities,” she pointed out.

The Vice President also belied Marcos’ claim that the changes in the transparency server of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) altered the poll results and the existence of an alleged queue server.

“The changing of the source code for the Comelec’s transparency server was not a fraudulent act that could have affected the results of vice presidential race. The Comelec had explained that the source code changes did not affect the data collected by the transparency server,” Robredo said.

Robredo’s camp alleged that the witnesses presented by Marcos before the PET submitted “spurious affidavits.”

She added that her proclamation as the duly elected vice president by Congress – acting as the National Board of Canvassers – was based on the data transmitted by the canvassing laptops of the various provincial boards of canvassers.

Robredo also argued that Marcos failed to establish the jurisdiction of the PET over his poll protest.

She dismissed the first part of Marcos’ protest as a mere complaint against the action of the Comelec on the glitches of the vote counting machines.

“This could not be a ground to contest the election of Robredo since an election protest is a contest between two candidates and not a case involving the problem between the Comelec and Smartmatic,” the answer read.

Marcos claims harassment of witnesses

Marcos also filed a manifestation before the PET, claiming that several witnesses in his protest were being coerced to recant their testimonies.

In a seven-page manifestation, he said these witnesses have been offered cash allegedly by the camp of Robredo to recant their statements backing his claim of poll fraud.

Marcos said the witnesses were threatened with charges of falsification of public documents or perjury if they would not withdraw their affidavits.

He said he would submit the testimonies of the witnesses to the PET next week. 


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