SC junks Robredo's early bid to end Marcos poll protest

THE Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the petition of Vice President Leni Robredo seeking to junk the poll protest filed by her losing rival former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), the SC in a resolution dated January 24 disagreed to Robredo's claim that the PET could not continue the case as the grounds raised by Marcos could not be used for a poll protest and the allegations of cheating and vote buying against her are just a "series of wild accusations."

"With the issuance of the summons, the Tribunal has found the protest to be 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.

PET claims jurisdiction

The SC also countered Robredo's claim that the PET should not decide on the case for "lack of jurisdiction" and that the issue should have been raised before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).

"Section 4, 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 elections contests relating to the election, returns, and disqualifications of the President or Vice President of the Philippines," PET said.

The tribunal, meanwhile, denied Marcos' bid to set aside Robredo's response to the poll protest for being belatedly filed.

Marcos has accused Robredo, who defeated him by just 263,473 votes, of benefitting from a "massive electoral fraud," in the last May 2016 elections.

Marcos in his protest said that Robredo's proclamation as Vice President is "null and void" as that the Certificates of Canvass (COC) generated by the Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) are not authentic, and may not be used as basis to determine the number of votes that the candidates for Vice President had received.

Marcos also cited as grounds the alleged pre-shading of ballots as well as the "script change" in the transparency server that supposedly altered the results of the polls. (SunStar Philippines)

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