PET mustn’t break rules to fit in with Marcos poll protest – Carpio, Caguioa
MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) must not violate its own rules to accommodate the election protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, two Justices of the Supreme Court said.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa wrote strongly-worded separate dissenting opinion against the majority ruling that required both Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo to comment on the result of the recount, revision and appreciation of votes from three pilot provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
“What else is there to say and comment on? The language and purpose of Rule 65 are clear. The results of the revision and appreciation are likewise clear. Had this case been before any of the electoral tribunals, the protest would have been dismissed,” Caguioa said.
Revision results showed that Robredo’s lead increased from 263,473 to 278,566, the PET said in its ruling.
Under Rule 65 of the PET rules, if upon the revision of ballots and reception of evidence “the Tribunal is convinced that, taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant will most probably fail to make out his case, the protest may forthwith be dismissed.”
Marcos also wants a technical examination of the ballots in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
But Carpio said it can no longer be allowed to give that Rule 65 which stated that the pilot provinces should be “not more than three.”
“The Tribunal will be violating its own Rules if it allows a revision and recount of ballots in other provinces beyond the maximum three provinces chosen by protestant…The last thing that this Tribunal should do is to change its rules in midstream to accommodate a party who has failed to comply with what Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules expressly requires,” said Carpio adding that the PET must not allow a mockery of the election contest process.
Caguioa, on the other hand, said Marcos is bound by his choice of pilot provinces.
“The Tribunal cannot accommodate protestant at the expense of violating its own rules. Protestant, therefore, has only himself to blame as the results of the revision and appreciation of millions of ballots in his three (3) pilot provinces only lead to one conclusion: the dismissal of his Protest,” said Caguioa./ac
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