PET junking of poll protest vs Robredo should lay issue to rest — opposition senators

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
PET junking of poll protest vs Robredo should lay issue to rest â opposition senators
Composite photo shows members of the Senate minority bloc: Sens. Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, Francis Pangilinan, and Risa Hontiveros (L-R).
The STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate minority bloc on Tuesday welcomed the Presidential Electoral Tribunal's dismissal of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

This comes after the unanimous dismissal by the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, was reported earlier Tuesday.

"The evidence presented and the arguments by the parties led to the inevitable conclusion that VP Leni...was duly elected by the people," detained Sen. Leila de Lima, a former justice secretary, said on Twitter.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros in Filipino lauded the SC justices who she said "fulfilled their mandate without bias and according to the evidence presented to them."

"It is good that this issue has been resolved," she added in Filipino. 

While Sen. Francis Pangilinan welcomed the ruling, he also said he wished the protest had been resolved much sooner. "[I]t affirms what we have been saying from Day 1, which is that the allegations of cheating in the process [are] baseless."

Marcos filed the protest as early as 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, urged all parties to respect the PET decision, saying it "should put the issue to rest."

"Let us begin the healing process now and focus on what is before us — [the COVID-10] pandemic," he added.

Palace 'respects' PET ruling but leaves door open for 'further remedy' from Marcos camp

Asked to comment on the issue, Malacañang on Tuesday said it respects the PET ruling.

However, presidential spokesman Harry Roque during a televised briefing said "we respect also that the camp of [former] Sen. Bongbong Marcos has a further remedy of moving for reconsideration."

SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka declined to comment on whether the decision may be appealed.

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

Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said they have yet to see the official announcement from the PET and have opted to issue a statement later. Meanwhile, Robredo's office said the vice president will issue a statement on the matter later Tuesday night.  

— with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

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