Bongbong poll protest raffled off to Noy counsel

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo has been raffled off to Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, who is the last appointee to the Supreme Court (SC) and Ateneo classmate of former president Benigno Aquino III.

An insider said new petitions filed before the high court were raffled off to SC justices yesterday.

The poll protest filed by Marcos last week with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has been included in the agenda of the SC magistrates in their regular session today.

“The tribunal may either defer action on the protest or decide to give due course and require Robredo to submit an answer,” the source said.

Caguioa and Aquino were classmates from elementary to college at the Ateneo de Manila University. Prior to his appointment to the SC last January, Caguioa served as Aquino’s chief presidential legal counsel and justice secretary.

In his protest, Marcos questioned the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five cities all over the country.

Marcos lost to Robredo by a slim margin of 263,473 votes.

He sought the nullification of about one million votes cast in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao over claims of massive cheating.

Marcos asked the PET to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reopen the ballots and conduct a manual recount of about eight million votes cast in 23 provinces and five cities.

Marcos also sought the nullification of Robredo’s proclamation as vice president.

Romulo Macalintal, lawyer for Robredo, earlier said that Marcos’ protest was “weak and costly.”

Macalintal believes that the complaint filed by Marcos may be dismissed outright by the PET.

“The complaint does not even name Robredo as the one responsible for the alleged irregularities in the elections, which means she could not be made liable for such scattershot allegations in Marcos’ petition,” Macalintal said.

The lawyer said the protest pertains to the alleged violations committed by the Comelec and Smartmatic.

Meanwhile, Marcos’ camp reiterated that the Comelec and Smartmatic violated the cybercime law when they changed the script of the transparency server of the poll body during the elections.

During yesterday’s hearing at the Manila prosecutor’s office, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, political adviser of Marcos, refuted the claims of the Comelec and Smartmatic that there was no altering of election results. – With Perseus Echeminada

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