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Marcos appeals dismissed VP poll protest, seeks revival of 3rd cause of action
File photo shows defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and his sister, Imee.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File

Marcos appeals dismissed VP poll protest, seeks revival of 3rd cause of action

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 11, 2021 - 12:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has appealed the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s dismissal of his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos filed a 96-paged motion for reconsideration urging the Supreme Court, sitting as PET, to proceed with his third cause of action, which involves the nullification of votes in the three Mindanao provinces due to alleged widespread terrorism, violence, threats, coercion, force, intimidation, and proliferation of pre-shaded ballots.

Marcos is appealing to a tribunal that, in a unanimous vote, junked his poll protest.

In the ruling penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the PET said Marcos “failed to make out his case” and entertaining his third cause of action “is to risk frustrating the valid exercise of the nation’s democratic will and subject it to the endless whims of a defeated candidate.”

Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, pointed this out. He said: “Mr. Marcos would be the luckiest man in the world if he could reverse the unanimous decision by merely repeating the same issues and arguments already decided by the entire [PET].”

Arguments

Marcos asserted that the third cause of action in his poll protest is independent, and was dismissed even before he had the opportunity to present his evidence. He argued that the revision of votes in his three pilot provinces — his second cause of action — will not render moot his third cause of action.

Marcos anchored his appeal on four arguments:

  • that the PET erred when it claimed his allegations are insufficient;
  • that the tribunal erred when it did not consider his third cause of action as independent from the revision of ballots;
  • that the tribunal erred in dismissing the third cause of action by applying Rule 65 of the PET rules
  • that he should have been given opportunity to present his evidence

“Since the third cause of action is a separate, distinct and independent cause of action, the annulment of the election results can and must proceed independently of the result from the recount, revision and re-appreciation of ballots,” he said.

Separate opinions

Marcos said he would no longer contest the dismissal of his second cause of action “for practical reasons and due to time constraints given that the next national elections is set for next year,” but pleads for the reconsideration of his third cause of action.

He asserted that Rules 65 of the PET will only apply if the cause of action is limited to the judicial recount and revision of ballots, but since there is a third cause of action calling for the annulment of election results, this “can and must proceed independently,’ he claimed.”

He cited the separate opinions of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta and Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan. Both magistrates concurred with the result of case.

Part of Gaerlan’s opinion read that the “annulment of elections is a distinct and electoral remedy that merits differentiated treatment from electoral protest and quo warranto petitions.”

Gaerlan said that the poll protest was properly dismissed for failure to prove substantial recovery in the pilot precincts but noted that he is writing a separate opinion “in the hope of guiding future adjudications” involving annulment of elections.

Peralta meanwhile said in his separate opinion that he agrees with Justice Gaerlan’s recommendation that, “in the interim, the Tribunal may make use of the Rules of Court and the decisions of the Supreme Court and this Tribunal in order to facilitate the resolution and disposition of cases for annulment of election results.”

Abayon case

Marcos also insisted that his right to due process was impaired when the tribunal dismissed the third cause of action without giving him an opportunity to present evidence.

In his appeal, Marcos again cited the 2016 case of Abayon vs House of Representatives — even though the PET had already said that he was incorrect in citing this case to argue that his third cause of action survives despite the unfavorable resolution in his second cause of action.

The PET in the assailed ruling said Abayon set requisites that Marcos also failed to meet. These are that illegality of ballots must affect more than 50% of the total precincts of the municipality or province concerned; that illegal ballots existed or were even used; and that Robredo is responsible for such unlawful acts.

Marcos said he intends to comply with the mandate of Abayon case by presenting evidence to prove the first two requisites mentioned in the ruling, but for the third requites mentioned by the Commission on Elections, he argued it was mere obiter dictum (incidental remark) and is not a binding as precedent.

“In the view of the foregoing, protestant Marcos implores this honorable tribunal to review, reevaluate and eventually reconsidered the assailed decision dated 16 February 2021,” he added.

BONGBONG MARCOS LENI ROBREDO POLL PROTEST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
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