SC junks Marcos' poll protest vs Robredo

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Update 3, 9:10 p.m.) — The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has junked former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

According to a source, the tribunal unanimously dismissed the electoral protest on Tuesday.

"(Y)es unanimously dismissed," the source told Philstar.com.

SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka in a press conference confirmed the dismissal of the electoral protest filed in 2016.

“Out of the 15 members of the tribunal were present in today’s meeting, I was informed that seven members fully concurred in dismissal while eight concurred in the result,” Hosaka said.

Three hours after the SC made the announcement on the voting, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesperson, falsely claimed that the tribunal only dismissed their second cause of action, which is on the recount of votes in the pilot provinces and their bid on the annulment of votes in Mindanao is still pending.

At 5:00 p.m., the SC issued an “updated press briefer” that stressed that the “entire electoral protest” was unanimously dismissed.

The SC also shared the dispositive portion of the resolution that read: “Wherefore, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal dismisses the Election Protest filed by protestant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for lack of merit.”

The SC had also dismissed Robredo’s counter-protest.

Full resolution yet to be published

Hosaka did not give any further details on the voting, including the identity of the justices who voted with the full concurrence of the main decision. He said the copy of the resolution will be uploaded to the SC website once it is available.

Hosaka also declined to comment on whether a decision may be appealed.

Should an appeal be filed, a reversal of the ruling, however, may be difficult as the tribunal was unanimous in its decision.

PET actions

The PET in September 2020 ordered the Commission on Elections and the Office of the Solicitor General to file their comment on the issues related to Marcos’ third cause of action in his poll protest.

In particular, this involves the annulment of elections in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao on the grounds of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters and pre-shading of ballots.

This action came almost a year since Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa submitted his initial report on Marcos’ second cause of action which covered the recount in his identified three pilot provinces.

PET said in the October 2019 resolution: “After the revision and appreciation, the lead of protestee Robredo increased from 263,473 to 278,566.” 

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

PET, however, said it will “comply with its constitutionally mandated duty allowing the parties the opportunity to examine the results of revision...as well as comment so that they are fully and fairly heard on all related legal issues.”'

Inhibitions sought

Through the course of the petition, protestant Marcos had moved for the inhibition of at least two justices. 

He accused Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, of being a “partial and biased” in 2018 but the SC dismissed his motion and “sternly warned” Marcos and his legal counsels “that any unfounded and inappropriate accusation made in the future will be dealt with more severely.”

Caguioa was previously the member-in-charge of the case until it was re-raffled after the release of the report on the recount of ballots from Marcos’ three identified pilot provinces.

Caguioa and former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio dissented and voted that the case should be dismissed.

In 2020, Marcos and Solicitor General Jose Calida, in an unrelated pleading, again claimed bias and prejudice and sought the recusal of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, reportedly member-in-charge of the case.

The tribunal again denied Marcos’ motion. It also reiterated that it is a collegial body, and the member-in-charge of a case can only recommend actions to be taken.

RELATED: SC tells Calida: 'People’s Tribune' status not to be 'hoisted wantonly' in private suits

The tribunal then cautioned parties, counsels and those acting on their behalf to “be more circumspect in their pleadings and in their public pronouncements.”

“All counsels including the Solicitor General are reminded to attend to their cases with objectivity and dignity demanded by our profession and keep their passions and excitement in check,” the PET added.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 18, 2021 - 1:09pm

Romulo Macalintal, the lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo, challenges defeated candidate Bongbong Marcos to sign a memorandum to prove his claims of electoral fraud against Robredo.

February 18, 2021 - 1:09pm

An organization of Martial Law victims welcomes the junking of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, saying the rejection of claims of electoral fraud makes it "now clear that Marcos' baseless and malicious protest and accusations are mere tantrums of a brat who can't accept defeat." 

Danilo dela Fuente, spokesperson of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), says Robredo's election as vice president in the 2016 polls "is a strong rejection of their desperate attempts to wash off their bloody record of human rights violations and corruption during Martial Law."

Dela Fuente stresses though, that Marcos' defeat at the polls does not mean an end to the campaign to hold the Marcoses accountable.

"Justice is yet to be served. Imelda Marcos, despite being found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of amassing wealth from plundering the nation's coffers, is still free, while many elderly and sickly political prisoners are languishing behind bars due to trumped up cases," he says.

The former first lady is appealing seven counts of graft that the Sandiganbayan convicted her of in 2018. Marcos was found guilty of creating private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984 that allowed her family to funnel illegally amassed government funds during the Martial Law period. 

February 16, 2021 - 4:24pm

The camp of defeated vice presidential bet Bongbong Marcos insists that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has yet to decide on their third cause of action.

Marcos' third cause of action is the annulment of votes in Mindanao.

According to Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez, the tribunal only unanimously voted to dismiss their second cause of action, which is the manual recount and judicial revision.

February 16, 2021 - 12:12pm

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has unanimously dismissed the election protested of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo, according to a source. — report from News5

November 18, 2020 - 2:05pm

Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo ask the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to investigate for possible collusion between Solicitor General Jose Calida, 19 assistant solicitors general and defeated vice presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in "besmirching the reputation" of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

"Indeed, how does siding with one man serve the welfare of the people; and, why would he take up the position of the defeated candidate whose interest is to call into question and effectively disenfranchise the vote of the people of the Philippines?" Robredo's lawyers ask the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Noting "eerily similar" motions for inhibition of Leonen, Robredo's legal team accuses the OSG of lawyering for Marcos.

September 30, 2020 - 6:56pm

The Liberal Party, of which Vice President Leni Robredo is chair, says it hopes the Supreme Court will finally decide on former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos' election protest against her.

"VP Robredo defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes in the 2016 vice presidential elections. This lead further grew to 278,566 votes with an additional 15,093 votes from a recount that Mr. Marcos himself pushed for. Malinaw na panalo si VP Leni noong 2016. Malinaw na siya rin ang nagwagi sa recount. Wala nang dapat hintayin pa ang Korte Suprema. Wala nang dahilan para pahabain pa ang kasong ito," the minority party says.

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