SC ruling: electoral tribunal legit, and that’s final
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has affirmed with finality the constitutionality of the creation of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to settle electoral protests between presidential and vice presidential candidates.
The 15-member tribunal upheld its previous unanimous vote junking a petition filed by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal Jr.
The latest decision was promulgated on June 7 but was released to the media only on Tuesday. It was authored by the now-retired Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura.
It argued that Macalintal, a former lawyer of ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, failed to present new arguments to cause a reversal of its Nov. 23, 2010 ruling.
It also stressed that Section 4 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that the “Supreme Court… shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of the president or vice president, and may promulgate its rule for the purpose.”
“We cannot agree with his insistence that the creation of the PET is unconstitutional,” the court said, adding, “We reiterate that the abstraction of the Supreme Court acting as (PET) from the unequivocal grant of jurisdiction in the… Constitution is sound and tenable.”
In his pleading, Macalintal claimed that the establishment of PET was an “illegal and unauthorized progeny” since the constitutional provision that the high court cited in its ruling did not specifically state the creation of the electoral body.
But the court said Macalintal was “going to town under the misplaced assumption.”
The tribunal also said that the election lawyer’s use of its ruling declaring as unconstitutional the creation of the Philippine Truth Commission “is an unmitigated quantum leap.”