Robredo urges PET to junk Marcos' appeal on poll protest dismissal

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Robredo urges PET to junk Marcos' appeal on poll protest dismissal
Vice President Leni Robredo's lead legal counsel Romulo Macalintal filed their party's comment on former Sen. Bongbong Marcos' appeal on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal's dismissal of his poll protest on July 2, 2021.
JUCRA pool photo

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has asked the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to junk former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s appeal on the dismissal of his poll protest against her.

In her comment filed through her lawyers, Robredo urged the PET to deny for lack of merit arcos’ Motion for Reconsideration dated 6 May 2021 for “being a mere rehash of arguments previously passed upon by the Honorable Tribunal.”

“The Election Protest merely proved one thing, that protestee Robredo has won, not just once, but thrice against protestant Marcos. This might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is one that protestant Marcos must accept with grace,” her lawyers added.

In February, the PET unanimously denied Marcos’ poll protest and held that the defeated candidate failed to specify allegations that support his claim of electoral fraud in petition.

EXPLAINER: A look at the tribunal ruling dismissing Marcos' poll protest vs Robredo

But Marcos, in his appeal, urged the tribunal to proceed with his third cause of action as he insisted that this is a separate action with his second cause of action which called for a re-examination of ballots in his three pilot provinces.

Marcos’ third cause of action 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.

Pilot provinces and Rule 65

But Robredo’s lawyers pointed out that, as early as 2017, Marcos was already made aware of the importance of showing substantial recovery in his chosen three pilot provinces to move forward with his poll protest.

The vice president’s legal team stressed that Marcos himself chose the three pilot provinces, Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

After the recount, Robredo’s lead widened by another 15,093 votes, putting her total number of votes to 14,436,337 against Marcos with 14,157,771 votes.

“Now that he was proven wrong, protestant Marcos now wants to change the Rules so he can keep fanning the flames on his unsubstantiated allegations. Protestant Marcos has no one to blame but himself for the dismissal of his Election Protest,” they added.

Robredo’s lawyers also noted that the poll body recalled PET Rule 65 that if examination of pilot provinces showed the protestant failed to make out his case, the protest may be dismissed.

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

“Conveniently, protestant Marcos overlooked this categorical statement of Comelec and only considered, if not twisted the words, in order to suit his purposes,” they added.

Her legal team also said Marcos “conveniently overlooked” Comelec’s pronouncements that no special elections were held in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in connection with the 2016 elections or the technical examination of the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List in Tan v. Hataman, which Marcos cited, has no probative value.

No proof against Robredo

In junking Marcos’ poll protest, the PET also looked into the 2016 case of Abayon vs House of Representatives, which Marcos had cited to argue that his third cause of action survives despite unfavorable resolution in his second cause of action.

But the tribunal pointed out that Marcos failed to meet three requisites that the Abayon case set such as Robredo as responsible for unlawful acts related to the voting.

“A cursory glance at the Election Protest will readily show that there is no allegation made by protestant Marcos or even by his witnesses, that protestee Robredo is directly responsible for the alleged incidents complained of,” they added.

Marcos, in his appeal, said he will comply with the first two requirements in the Abayon case—on more than 50% illegal ballots of total precincts of town or province concerned and that illegal ballots existed or use—but insisted the third requisite was ere obiter dictum (incidental remark) and is not a binding as precedent.

Robredo’s lawyers however argued: “Equally noteworthy is that protestant Marcos also failed to include in his Preliminary Conference Brief any evidence which will prove that protestee Robredo was the one directly responsible for the unlawful acts complained of.”

“In the end, protestant Marcos needs to concede and accept his defeat with grace,” they added.

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