Robredo team confident 2016 polls, recount win will be upheld
The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has moved forward on former Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo and ordered the Commission on Elections on pending issues on the case.
Combination photo, file
Robredo team confident 2016 polls, recount win will be upheld
Kristine Joy Patag ( - September 30, 2020 - 2:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — The legal team of Vice President Leni Robredo welcomed the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s latest action on the poll protest filed by former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, believing it will fast-track the resolution of the case.

Lawyer Bernadette Sardillo, part of Robredo’s team, said they believe the tribunal will uphold the electoral victory of the vice president, as seen in the 2016 results and the recount of ballots.

READ: SC moves forward on poll protest, orders comment on Marcos' bid for nullification of Mindanao elections

“In 2016, our lead was 263,473 votes. And after the recount, our lead increased to 278,566 votes,” she said, referring to the report of Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, who was previously the member-in-charge, on the recount of Marcos’ three pilot provinces.

“[T]he rules in different electoral tribunals mandate the immediate dismissal of any election protest after finding no substantial recovery,” Sardillo noted.

She added in Filipino: “VP Leni won twice. The fight has long been over. Marcos has lost already. Let us finish this.”

Rule 65 of the PET states that if the protestant fails to “make out his case” in the identified provinces, at most three areas, best exemplifying the alleged fraud or irregularity, the protest may be dismissed without consideration of the other provinces in the request.

EXPLAINER: What is PET Rule 65 and why are Robredo's lawyers bringing it up?

But in October 2019, eleven justices voted to ask the parties to comment on matters relating to Marcos’ third cause of action, seeking the nullification of elections in Maguindanao, Basilan and Lanao Del Sur, for “widespread presence of terrorism, violence, threats, coercion, force and intimidation.”

Two justices, including Caguioa and now retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, dissented from the majority.

Months later, the SC moved forward with the case and asked the Commission on Elections and the Office of the Solicitor General to file its comment on issues surrounding the third cause of action in the case.

Marcos team: Order to comment is another delay

The spokesperson of Marcos also welcomed the PET action saying it “validates” their cause of action as “separate and distinct from the manual recount and judicial revision.”

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, however, said they “view with extreme reservation the route chosen by the justice in charge,” who, he claimed, only added another layer on the case, delaying its resolution.

“Instead of directly proceeding with the technical examination and forensic investigation, he lamentably added another layer that would cause tremendous delay in referring the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General and the Comelec to file their respective Comment,” he said.

Reports last year identified Associate Justice Marvic Leonen as the current member-in-charge of the case.

Rodriguez continued: “Considering the very thin time left in the term of the contested position, our protest is under real threat of becoming moot and academic by events leading to 2022 such as the filing of candidacy, campaign and national election that would reduce the clamor and right of the people to know who really won the vice presidency illusory.”

The PET also directed the parties of Robredo and Marcos to file their respective replies on the Comelec and OSG's comment.

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