Leni’s lawyer hits Bongbong for preempting poll tribunal
Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer on Wednesday criticized former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for petitioning the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to assign three hearing officers for his poll protest.
In a statement, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal dismissed Marcos’ move as “very premature” and was apparently aimed at priming the public and the 15-member PET to believe his claims even before it could formally hear the case.
“We have not yet even held our preliminary conference where the issues to be resolved by the (PET) will be defined. And now, Marcos is again preempting the action of the PET on this matter,” Macalintal said.
He also noted that the PET has yet to decide if it would act on the three main issues which the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos mentioned in his election protest.
The high court was expected to take up the matter during its preliminary conference on June 21.
“Without the preliminary conference, the motion to have three hearing officers is practically intended to condition the minds of the people, if not those of the members of the PET, of the issues Marcos seems to dictate upon the tribunal,” Macalintal stressed.
He said it was impractical for the tribunal to grant the petition as both parties only have one lead lawyer tasked to handle the three major issues of Marcos’ electoral protest.
“Surely, the lead lawyer has to be present in every stage of the hearing and cannot be in three places at the same time. And these issues are all interconnected. It is improper for three hearing officers to resolve the said issues separately,” Macalintal said.
In his May 12 urgent motion, Marcos asked the PET for “an orderly, simplified and expeditious disposition” of his poll protest by designating three hearing officers.
“Public interest demands that this electoral controversy be resolved with dispatch to determine once and for all the genuine choice of the electorate for the contested position,” Marcos said.
The former senator, who had accused the Vice President of delaying the resolution of his election protest, is challenging the election results in 132,446 polling precincts.
This prompted Robredo, who won over Marcos by more than 260,000 votes, to file a counterprotest involving 31,278 polling precincts.
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