MANILA, Philippines ? The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) cannot be abolished, Chief Justice Renato Corona said.
?Hindi pwede i-abolish ang PET dahil ito ay nasa Saligang Batas [PET can?t be abolished because it?s in the Constitution],? Corona said over dzMM?s Dos Por Dos.
The PET performs the same function as that of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. In the case of PET, it handles electoral protests for president and vice president.
Corona, prior to his appointment as Chief Justice, was chairman of the HRET.
The case stemmed after election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, then counsel for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, asked the high court to abolish the PET.
Macalintal said the creation of the PET was a violation of Article 7 Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that ?the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.?
He pointed that the Supreme Court could not act as a quasi-judicial body with a separate budget, employees and a different seal.
Macalintal added that the designation of the Chief Justice and other justices of the Supreme Court to the PET violated Section 12 Article VIII of the Constitution.
Under the said provision: ?The Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.?
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal settles disputes relating to the election, returns and qualifications of candidates for president and vice President.