MANILA — The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has found sufficient grounds to proceed with the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo.
“The Tribunal affirms its jurisdiction over the instant Protest, which is sufficient in form and substance. The protestee’s [Robredo] prayer to dismiss the Protest for lack of jurisdiction and for being insufficient in form and substance is denied,” PET said in an eight-page resolution dated Jan. 24 but was released to media on Thursday.
”However, while the Tribunal finds the Protest sufficient in form and substance, it must be emphasized that, as to the veracity of the protestant’s allegations, nothing yet has been proved. The Protest is only sufficient for the Tribunal to proceed and give the protestant the opportunity to prove his case in accordance with the 2010 PET Rules,” it added.
The PET also said the election protest is sufficient in form and substance.
“The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” the PET said.
Contrary to Robredo’s argument, the PET said they have the jurisdiction to act on the electoral protest as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
“Section IV, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution in relation to Rule 13 of the 2010 PET Rules provides that the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President and Vice President. The phrase “election, election, returns, and qualifications” refers to all matters affecting the validity of the contestee’s title, which includes questions on the validity, authenticity and correctness of the Certificates of Canvass,’ the PET said.
At the same time, it clarified that while they found the protest sufficient in form and substance, the veracity of Marcos’ allegations against Robredo are yet to be proven.
In her verified answer to Marcos’s protest, Robredo argued that the PET has no jurisdiction over the election protest because it improperly questions the authenticity and due execution of the COCs and that it should have been raised in a pre-proclamation case before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers.
In the same ruling, the PET junked Marcos plea calling on the Tribunal to dismiss Robredo’s verified answer to her protest and expunge it from the records saying that Robredo was able to file it within the time required for her to do so.
Meanwhile, the camp of former Senator Marcos welcomed the recent resolution of the Supreme Court, acting as the PET.
In a statement, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, said the former senator was pleased that the Tribunal denied the motion of former Camarines Sur Rep. Robredo to conduct a preliminary hearing on his election protest and eventually dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction.
“We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward. There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice presidential race last May,” Rodriguez said.
“We just want the truth to come out. Its that simple.” Rodriguez said
Marcos earlier said he decided to file the electoral protest due to the series of frauds, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections and that such activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party.
Robredo won the 2016 vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNAnorthboundasia.com