PH Supreme Court junks Marcos poll protest vs Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Bongbong Marcos | Inquirer.net photos

THE Philippine Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has dismissed the entire election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“With regard to PET Case No. 005 (Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., protestant vs Maria Leonor “Leni Daang Matuwid” G. Robredo, protestee), the 15 members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal unanimously dismissed the entire electoral protest,” the high court, through its Public Information Office, said on Tuesday, February 15.

It also shared the dispositive portion of the ruling that read: “WHEREFORE, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal DISMISSES the Election Protest filed by protestant Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. for lack of merit. The Counter-Protest filed by protestee Maria Leonor “Leni Daang Matuwid” G. Robredo is likewise DISMISSED.”

SC Spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka revealed that seven of the 15 justices present during Tuesday’s session “fully concurred” in the dismissal while the remaining eight “concurred” in the result.

However, he declined to comment on whether the decision can be appealed.

“I cannot answer the question because I only have the information which I read,” Hosaka said at a news conference.

A court insider told ABS-CBN News that the PET dismissed the case because Marcos failed to present specific details to support his poll protest.
“Allegations were bare, laden with generic & repetitious allegations, no critical information as to time, place and manner of irregularities,” the source told ABS-CBN News.

After Robredo defeated Marcos in the 2016 vice presidential race by 263,473 votes, the former senator filed a poll protest on June 29, 2016.

In October 2019, the PET found that Robredo widened her lead over Marcos in the recount of votes in the three pilot provinces, showing Robredo with 1,510,178 votes now compared to her 1,493,517 votes in the areas chosen by Marcos previously.

With the additional 15,093 votes from the recount, Robredo maintained her lead over Marcos with 278,566 votes.

Marcos in January 2020 asked the PET to re-examine the initial vote recount results and conduct a technical examination of the voters’ signatures in three provinces in Mindanao namely Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan due to alleged fraud and terrorism.
Meanwhile, Robredo filed her own memorandum asking the PET to dismiss the election protest filed by Marcos after failing to present any substantial recovery in the three pilot provinces.

Palace respects PET ruling

Malacañang on Tuesday said it respects the PET’s decision to dismiss the election protest.

“Yan ay desisyon ng kataas-taasang hukuman (That is the decision of the Supreme Court).

We respect that and we respect also that the camp of Senator Bongbong Marcos has a further remedy of moving for reconsideration,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Meanwhile, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the PET’s unanimous decision on the poll protest “appears to validate Robredo’s win on the basis of law and of the evidence presented before it by both parties.”

“Perforce, rule of law has prevailed. Due process was evidently observed with both parties having been given the opportunity to present their respective cases. As a general rule, the electorate’s decision is to be accorded the stamp of correctness,” he said.

Panelo also said that the Marcos camp has to accept the PET’s decision and acknowledge democracy at work.

“There is always another election to vindicate one’s loss or validate forever one’s rejection by the voting population. The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has spoken. It behooves everyone to abide by it. And so we must,” he added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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