Chief Justice Peralta says Marcos can appeal poll protest dismissal

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Chief Justice Peralta says Marcos can appeal poll protest dismissal
This combination file photo shows former Sen. Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Combination photo, file

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may still appeal the dismissal of his vice presidential poll protest, Chief Justice DIosdado Peralta said, but he refused to discuss how a potential candidacy in the coming elections may affect the appeal.

The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, voted unanimously to junk the entirety of Marcos’ poll protest on Tuesday, clearing the issues that have hounded Vice President Leni Robredo’s win for more than four years.

Peralta, however, said that Marcos can, of course, file a motion for reconsideration to reverse this. Should Marcos proceed with his appeal, he would be working to overturn a unanimous vote.

Marcos has announced his plan to run for the 2022 national polls as early as January 2020, when his poll protest was still pending. Upon the dismissal, his team again reiterated their intention to seek a post in the coming elections.

The chief justice, however, refused to discuss how Marcos’ bid for the next elections would affect the proceedings.

“That’s another question. Let’s not tackle it… but that’s his choice, if he wants to run, that’s his choice,” Peralta said in a chance interview at the sidelines of the conferment of an honorary Doctors of Law degree from the Tarlac State University on Friday morning.

Under the PET rules, the decision becomes final ten days after the receipt of copy of the parties, if no motion for reconsideration is filed.

The tribunal has yet to release the full copy of the ruling, which Peralta noted is a “long, long and well-written decision by our colleague,” referring to the ponente.

The chief justice said they are still waiting for other justices to explain their vote, which would take more than a week.

SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka said that “seven members fully concurred in dismissal while eight concurred in the result.” In an updated statement, Hosaka stressed that the “entire electoral protest” was unanimously dismissed.

Peralta refused to explain the votes of his colleagues, noting that deliberations are confidential. “But I can only say that as usual, there was deliberation, there were debates, there were several things raised, but eventually as what the chief justice usually does, and that’s to call for a vote,” he added.

The chief justice also said “all issues were tackled,” including Marcos’ third cause of action, which pushes for the annulment of votes in three Mindanao provinces.

Electoral protests

University of the Philippines College of Law professor Oliver Reyes noted in a Twitter thread that the Marcos case is just one of the two PET cases that were resolved based on merits.

The other was the vice presidential poll protest of incumbent Rep. Loren Legarda (Antique) with “partial resolution on the merits, but [entire protest] was also deemed as ultimately abandoned with her election to the Senate.”

In the poll protest filed by former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas contesting the win of former Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2010 national elections, the PET dismissed the poll protest on the ground of mootness.

In the ruling penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the tribunal directed Roxas and Binay to express their interest in pursuing the case after they had filed their respective certificates of candidacy for the 2016 polls. “Neither of the parties has complied with the directive as of date,” the ruling dated August 16, 2016 read.

The tribunal, however, said that when the new set of national and local elections took office on June 30, 2016, the term Roxas and Binay were contesting had also expired.

“Clearly, the protest and the counter-protest that are the subject matter of this case have become moot and academic. As such, the Tribunal is constrained to dismiss the protest and the counter-protest,” the ruling further read.

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