VP poll protest case ruling dragged on to give Bongbong Marcos due process – SC
MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s attempt to void Vice President Leni Robredo’s victory in the 2016 elections should have been spurned early on, but the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), opted to give him “accommodation” in the interest of due process.
This was contained in a 93-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who threw out the electoral protest of the son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and upheld the legality of Robredo’s win.
The PET promulgated the landmark decision on Feb. 16 but was made public only on Monday.
Voting unanimously, the 15-member tribunal ruled that Marcos failed to substantiate his “sweeping” claim of widespread fraud during the 2016 elections.
“[Marcos’] allegations appeared bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations, and lacked critical information as to the time, place, and manner that the alleged irregularities [were committed],” read the ruling.
“When the protestant fails to meet the strict requirement of specificity and established rules on evidence to support the allegations of election irregularities, the election protest must be dismissed,” the magistrates said.
They said the protest could have been dismissed under Rule 21, which states that a poll protest may be junked outright due to insufficiency in form and substance without the PET requiring the subject of the protest to answer the allegations
“However, we painstakingly heard every argument to afford the parties due process,” they added.
Marcos, in a statement, said it was unfortunate that Leonen dismissed the case “without allowing us to present proof about the massive cheating’’ in Mindanao.
“In effect, what was supposed to be a separate, distinct and independent cause of action was rejected because of a plethora of rules,’’ he said. “Indeed, it is regrettable that the justice in charge viewed the case with extreme partiality through his yellow lenses.’’
Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, now Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and Associate Justices Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Ramon Paul Hernando, Amy Lazaro-Javier and Rosmari Carandang voted in favor of Leonen’s decision.
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