PET rejects VP Leni’s victory claim over Marcos’ poll protest

Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, whose family is accused of plundering billions from public coffers, claimed
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, whose family is accused of plundering billions from public coffers, claimed "massive cheating" led to his 2016 defeat against Vice President Leni Robredo by some 260,000 votes. ABS-CBN NEWS

MANILA – The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), rejected Vice President Leni Robredo’s bid to dismiss the poll protest of 2016 losing vice presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In a resolution made public on Thursday, the PET said the numbers submitted by Robredo in her motion to dismiss Marcos’ petition is still “speculative and premature.”

“The Tribunal has yet to complete the proceedings following Rule 65 of the 2010 PET rules, which entails judicial recount, revision and appreciation of the votes cast in protestant’s (Marcos’) pilot provinces,” it said.

“The figures submitted by protestee (Robredo) are merely speculative. In arriving at the figures, protestee presumes that all her claims will be admitted by the Tribunal,” it added.

“This premise is fundamentally flawed as the Tribunal is still in the process of appreciation of the revised ballots and ruling on the negative objections and claims made by the parties thereon,” it said.

The PET added the final tally has yet to be completed and released “thus, the Court resolves to deny protestee’s motion on the ground of prematurity.”

Robredo, in her urgent motion filed before the PET last June, said there is a need for the tribunal to resolve all the pending incidents as she claimed her lead against Marcos even increased by more than 15,000 votes after the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots in the three pilot provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur where Marcos earlier said he can prove that irregularities marred the conduct of the 2016 elections.

“Without pre-empting the resolution of the Honorable Tribunal, the result of the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots clearly confirm the victory of protestee Robredo,” the motion said.

Meanwhile, the PET deferred action on Marcos’ plea to examine the ballots from three southern provinces in connection with his electoral protest against Robredo.

The PET said it would not act on Marcos’ “premature” motion for a technical examination of the ballots from Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao until after its initial determination of the grounds for his electoral protest.

“The (PET) is allowed to conduct revision of ballots and reception of evidence on the designated pilot provinces first, and on such basis, dismiss the protest if it finds that the protestant will most probably fail to make out a case,” the PET said.

Marcos earlier selected Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental as the pilot provinces which “best exemplify frauds or irregularities alleged in the electoral protest.”

But in an omnibus motion in December last year, Marcos asked the PET to investigate alleged substituted-voting in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan, as supposedly shown by a mismatch between the signatures and thumbprints of voters in the registration record and a computerized list.

Marcos lost the vice presidential race to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the final and official tally by the Commission on Elections. Marcos garnered 14,155,344 votes while Robredo got a total of 14,418,817 votes.

In his election protest, Marcos questioned the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts in some 25 provinces and five cities all over the country involving around 9-million votes.

Marcos cited alleged pre-shading of ballots, massive vote buying, script change in the transparency server that allegedly altered the results, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for vice presidential position./PN


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