SC allows release of initial recount result on Marcos poll protest
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has allowed the release of the committee report on the result of revision of ballots from three pilot provinces chosen by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Iloilo were chosen by Marcos as the provinces he believes had the most number of cheatings committed.
The request for a copy of the report was made by following reports quoting sources that the PET has decided to set aside its rule on initial determination test on the three pilot provinces chosen by Marcos and has decided to continue with the recount of the remaining 22 provinces and five highly urbanized cities which are subject of the protest.
“The Tribunal has decided to release to the parties the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three pilot provinces and for them to comment thereon,” the High Court’s Public Information Chief and Spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said at a press conference.
The PET also required the parties to comment on the committee report as well and submit a memoranda on the various issues relating to the jurisdiction as well as about Marcos’ third cause of action seeking to nullify election results for the vice presidency in Lanao Del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao on the ground of terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts in the areas.
Hosaka said the Tribunal has given both parties 20 days to file their comments to the committee report and memoranda to the third cause of action.
He said 13 justices voted to release the results of the report to both parties with only Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissenting from the majority.
But Hosaka could not give the reason why Carpio and Caguioa dissented.
“I was not told the basis of their dissent,” he said.
On Monday, Robredo asked the Tribunal to follow Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules which entails judicial recount, revision and appreciation of the votes cast in protestant’s Marcos pilot provinces.
Robredo argued that Rule 65 would result in the dismissal of Marcos’ electoral protest, if, after the initial determination in the three pilot provinces, the latter was unable to show substantial recovery in his favor.
She also stressed that Marcos’ third of cause of action in his protest should not take precedence over Rule 65 which states that results from the three pilot provinces should be examined first.
The Tribunal has twice deferred its deliberation on the case-last October 1 and 8-despite the fact that Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa has already submitted last month the result of the revision and recount of ballots in three pilot provinces covered by the election protest.
Caguioa is the justice assigned to handle the election protest. His report covers the result of the revision and recount of ballots in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur involving 5,415 precincts.
The outcome of the revision and recount of ballots in the said three pilot provinces would determine whether the PET will proceed with the vote revision on 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities that were identified in Marcos’ election protest. /muf
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