Bongbong Marcos scores another round vs Robredo
The son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos has moved a step closer toward his bid to nullify the victory of Vice President Leni Robredo in the May 2016 balloting.
The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has approved the request of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to get his electoral protest against Robredo off the ground by setting the preliminary conference of the case.
Theodore Te, the high court’s spokesperson, on Wednesday said the magistrates granted Marcos’ motion during their full-court session in Baguio City on Tuesday, the last of their annual summer sessions, and scheduled the initial hearing at 2 p.m. on June 21.
He said the PET issued the ruling “without prejudice” to all the petitions filed by both parties and awaiting resolution from the 15-member tribunal.
“Considering, however, that Rule 3 of the 2010 PET Rules mandates that the rules are to be liberally construed to achieve a just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every contest before the tribunal, the PET has deemed it proper to conduct the preliminary conference of both protests jointly,” Te said in a statement.
The court official said the preliminary hearing would cover all matters which Marcos and Robredo had raised in their separate pleadings.
Te said the PET directed both camps to submit their preliminary conference briefs and provide copies to the opposing side not less than five days before the hearing.
The documents which Robredo and Marcos would submit should include the “possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and documents to avoid unnecessary proof,” according to Te.
He said the magistrates likewise directed them to limit the number of their witnesses and to make the issues they were raising more comprehensible.
Robredo edged out Marcos by more than 200,000 votes, prompting him to challenge the voting results in 132,446 polling precincts, for which the PET required him to pay P66.2 million in cash deposit.
The Vice President, on the other hand, has been ordered by the tribunal to settle P15.5 million in cash bond for her counterprotest covering 31,278 polling precincts.
On Tuesday, the high court denied her petition seeking a deferment of the payment of her protest fee pending the ruling of the PET on the merits of Marcos’ electoral protest.