PET refused to junk Marcos’ poll protest vs VP Leni
The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has refused to dismiss the election protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“The Tribunal affirms its jurisdiction over the instant Protest, which is sufficient in form and substance. The protestee’s [Robredo] prayer to dismiss the Protest for lack of jurisdiction and for being insufficient in form and substance is denied,” PET said.
In an eight page resolution, the PET said contrary to Robredo’s argument, they have the jurisdiction to act on Marcos’ petition as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
Robredo, in her verified answer to Marcos’ protest, said that the PET had no jurisdiction over the election protest because it improperly questions the authenticity and due execution of the Certificates of Canvass (COC).
She said it should have been raised as an issue in a pre-proclamation case before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).
Robredo added that through the amendments introduced in Republic Act 9369 or the Election Automation Law, pre-proclamation cases involving authenticity and due execution of COCs are now allowed to be brought before the NBOC.
The Vice President added that the protest is insufficient in form and substace for failure to specify in detail the acts or omissions complained of showing electoral frauds.
In rejecting Robredo’s argument, the PET said under Section 4 Article VII of the Constitution in relation to Rule 13 of the PET rules, “the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the President or Vice-President ofthe Philippines.”
PET said the phrase “election, returns, and qualifications” refers to all matters affecting the validity of the contestee’s title which includes questions on the validity, authentiticy and correctness of the COCs.
With regard to sufficiency of protest, the PET said it is sufficient in form and substance.
“The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” PET said.
But the PET clarified that while they found the protest sufficient in form and substance, the veracity of Marcos’ allegations against Robredo has yet to be proven.
“Nothing yet has been proved. The protest is only sufficient for the Tribunal to proceed and give the protestant the opportunity to prove his case in accordance with the PET rules,” PET said.
On June 29 last year, Marcos filed the protest claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May last year. He wants the PET to annul about a million votes cast in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
Robredo filed her response last August and sought the dismissal of the protest. CBB/rga