Marcos prods PET to reverse dismissal of poll protest vs VP Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to reconsider its decision dismissing his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In his motion, Marcos said he will no longer contest the dismissal of his other causes of action and pleaded with the PET to reconsider the decision that dismisses his third cause of action, insisting that it is independent of his other causes of action.
The third cause of action sought the annulment of election results in 2,756 protested clustered precincts in Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan on the grounds of terrorism, force, violence, threats, intimidation, the substitution of voters, and pre-shading of ballots in favor of Robredo.
The PET, in its February ruling, said the former senator’s “abject failure” to provide evidence to support his claims was the cause of dismissal of his protest.
In his motion for reconsideration, Marcos said his third cause of action should have been treated independently from his other causes of action. He said its dismissal has violated his right to due process since he was no longer allowed to present his evidence.
The PET, in dismissing his third cause of action, said that Marcos failed to specify which precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan did terrorism, violence, force, and intimidation of voters has occurred.
The PET through Associate Justice Marvic Leonen also said that while there are election protests in Lanao and Maguindanao, the majority have been dismissed, while there was no protest or declaration of failure of elections in Basilan.
But Marcos said his claims cannot be insufficient since he has complied with the PET order in submitting a list of his evidence and witnesses to support his claim.
“It is an integral part of procedural due process that the parties be given the opportunity to present all relevant evidence so as to settle all the issues involved…Protestant Marcos did not waive his right to present witnesses for his Third Cause of Action. In fact, a review of his preliminary conference brief would easily reveal that he intended to present both testimonial and documentary evidence to prove merit and legitimacy of his prayer for the annulment of election results,” read the motion.
He also maintained that the application of Rule 65 of the PET rules for his third cause of action is a mistake on the part of the PET.
Rule 65 of the PET rules provide for the dismissal of a protest when the results of the revision and appreciation of ballots in the pilot provinces do not support the allegations of fraud or irregularities.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s lead counsel Atty. Romulo Macalintal said Marcos “would be the luckiest man in the world if he could reverse the unanimous decision by merely repeating the same issues and arguments already decided by the entire PET.”