SC, sitting as PET, affirms integrity of 2016 polls
The Supreme Court (SC) sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) affirmed the authenticity and integrity of the 2016 elections as it dismissed the first cause of action of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
Marcos’ first cause of action sought to declare as unauthentic all the certificates of canvas used by both chambers of Congress in proclaiming Robredo as the winner with a margin of over 200,000 votes.
His first cause of action has worried the high court justices because once granted, it could put in question the election not only of Vice President Leni Robredo but results in both local and national elections as well.
In a resolution made public Tuesday, the PET noted that Marcos’ lawyer Atty. George Erwin Garcia admitted that even if the first cause of action is granted, the former senator cannot be proclaimed as the winner because a manual recount has to be conducted nationwide.
Garcia, however, said a nationwide manual recount is not necessary because they are limiting their request for collection, revision and manual recount of ballots to only 39,221 clustered precincts. The lawyer said the first cause of action is complimentary to their other causes of action.
The Marcos camp also wants PET to attend to the more “traditional” modes of cheating, like vote buying, pre-shading, intimidation and failure of elections, among others.
He specifically asked for the reopening of ballot boxes in each of the 36,465 clustered precincts in Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Masbate, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, Bukidnon, Iloilo, Bohol, Quezon, Batangas, Western Samar, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, 2nd District of Northern Samar, Palawan, Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Pangasinan, Isabela, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Zamboanga City.
Marcos is also asking the PET to annul the election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao where the ballots had allegedly been pre-shaded, and a recount of those from 22 provinces and five cities.
The third part of the protest focused on the alleged unauthorized introduction by a Smartmatic technician of a new hash code (or a new script / program) into the Transparency Server as well as the effects brought about by the unauthorized change.
But PET said praying for the nullification of the integrity of the 2016 polls is “meaningless and pointless as it noted that even Garcia failed to adequately explain how the first cause of action is complimentary to their other protest.
“Among the purposes of conducting a preliminary conference are the simplification of issues and consideration of such other matters which may aid in the prompt disposition of the election protest, with the end in view that proceedings may be expedited,” the PET said.
“This being the case, the Tribunal is now called upon to dismiss, as it hereby dismisses the First Cause of Action as the relief prayed for is meaningless and pointless…Judicial economy refers to ‘efficiency in the operation of the courts and the judicial system, especially the efficient management of litigation so as to minimize duplication of effort and to avoid wasting the judiciary’s time and resources,” PET added.
Atty. Romulo Macalintal, lead counsel for Robredo welcomed the PET’s ruling.
“The ruling’s effect is that the integrity and credibility of the automated election system has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” he told reporters. IDL
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