SC junks Marcos plea to set aside Robredo proclamation

THE Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has junked former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos's plea to set aside the proclamation of Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo.

The SC's latest action, however, does not mean that the ongoing proceedings in relation to Marcos's poll protest will be halted.

In its resolution dated August 29, the PET said it is junking the plea of Marcos to annul Robredo's proclamation over unauthenticated Certificates of Canvass generated by the Consolidation and Canvass System for practical reasons and "prompt disposition of the case."

The SC said that even Marcos's lawyer, George Garcia, admitted that his client's request to nullify Robredo's proclamation is "complementary" to the second cause of action which is the ballot revision and recount, and the third cause of action which is the nullification of results for vice presidential race in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan for failure of elections due to terrorism.

It also said that Garcia likewise admitted that further granting of the said plea will not lead to the proclamation of the protestant as Vice President.

"The tribunal is left with no option but to already dismiss the first cause of action as indeed, this will not prevent the protest from continuing because protestant can still prove his case through the second and third causes of action," the PET said.

The PET in the same resolution also junked for the third time Robredo's motion for reconsideration seeking to stop the tribunal from hearing Marcos' protest.

The tribunal upheld its earlier ruling that the protest filed by Marcos is sufficient in form and substance.

"The Motion for Reconsideration essentially restates the arguments contained in protestee's Verified Answer and Counter-Protest, and these have already been duly considered and passed upon by the Tribunal in the Resolution dated January 24, 2017," the PET said.

"The Tribunal finds no cogent reason to discuss these matters any further," it added.

In the same resolution, the SC also ordered the retrieval of all the ballot boxes and election paraphernalia in the three pilot provinces in Marcos' poll protest, namely Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental to start the ballot revision.

Earlier Court ruling said that these ballots should be transported to the SC compound for examination and revision.

The PET also granted the motion of Marcos to decrypt and print the ballot images from the SD cards from the three pilot areas in order to aid the PET in the prompt disposition case.

The SC earlier designated a revision team that will locate and examine the ballots being contested by Marcos. (SunStar Philippines)