Marcos protest ‘dismissible’—election lawyer
An election lawyer who served as a counsel of Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo in the canvassing of votes said the 1,000-page election protest filed by defeated vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the Supreme Court was “dismissible.”
Speaking as an election lawyer and not as Robredo’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal on Thursday said the newly sworn-in Vice President could not be made responsible for Marcos’ “general” allegations of electoral frauds and irregularities.
“Culled from media reports, the petition filed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos questioning the proclamation of elected Vice President Leni Robredo consisting of ‘three parts’ is NOT an election protest. It does not even name Ms. Robredo as the one responsible for the alleged irregularities, hence, she could not be made to answer for such scattershot allegations in Marcos’ petition,” Macalintal said in a statement.
Macalintal said Robredo had nothing to do with Marcos’ complaints against the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic over alleged violations in using the Vote Counting Machines and the transparency server, in which “the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction.”
“The ‘second part’ consists of alleged ‘traditional modes of cheating’ like vote-buying, pre-shading and intimidation and failure of election. Again, these are election offenses cases which should have been filed with the Law Department of the Comelec and not before the [Presidential Electoral Tribunal] as the latter has no jurisdiction to hear and decide election offense cases,” Macalintal said.
“No allegation that Ms. Robredo did any of such complained acts. Again, the latter’s election as VP could not be altered by such general statement of alleged election frauds,” he added.
Marcos on Wednesday asked the SC to set aside the proclamation of Robredo, who won over him by more than 200,000 votes in the recently concluded May elections.
Macalintal noted that it would take more than three years from the start of recounting or revision of ballots to decide on Marcos’ protest alone, granting that the high tribunal would give due course to his petition, excluding the time frame if Robredo decides to file a counter-protest.
“As of this date, no one knows when the revision would start as it would take couple of months to gather all the ballot boxes from the 27 provinces and cities protested by Marcos. Shipping and hauling alone of these items would take couple of months,” he said.
“With 39,221 clustered precincts protested coupled with 1,000-page election protest and more than 20,000 affidavits, Marcos needs close to P127 Million pesos to finance his election protest,” Macalintal added.
Macalintal also estimated the expenses in the protest of the late dictator’s son and namesake:
a.) Cash deposit for 39,221 clustered precincts or
168,650 precincts at P500 per precinct: P84,325,150.00
b) Cost of revision/legal expenses with 30 revision costs: P38,586,000.00
c) Cost of technical exam of documents: P4,000,000.00
Total estimated expenses P126,911,150.00
Robredo took her oath as the country’s 14th Vice President at the Quezon City Reception House in New Manila, where she will hold office. RAM/rga