PET defers vote on Marcos poll protest

THE Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has rescheduled for October 15, 2019 the voting on former senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In an interview, SC Public Information Office spokesperson Brian Hosaka said the PET failed to take any action on Marcos’ petition to invalidate Robredo’s win in the 2016 vice presidential derby during its scheduled session on Tuesday, October 8.

“The said case remains pending and is still being deiberated by the members of the tribunal,” he said.

Last week, the PET also deferred action on Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguoa’s report on poll protest lodged by Marcos against Robredo.

On June 29, 2016, Marcos filed an electoral protest before the PET, challenging the victory of Robredo who led the 2016 vice presidential race.

Marcos had claimed “massive cheating” made him lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential elections by some 263,473 votes.

Caguioa, the magistrate in charge of Marcos’s petition, submitted on September 9 the report on the results of the recount in Marcos’s chosen pilot provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur.

The PET, however, has yet to vote on the recount result, which will be the basis whether Marcos’ poll protest will thrive or not.

Rule 65 of the PET rules states that, “If upon examination of such ballots and proof, and after making reasonable allowances, the tribunal is convinced that, taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant will most probably fail to make out his case, the protest may fortwith be dismissed, without further consideration of the other provinces mentioned in the protest.”

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Executive branch will not meddle in the issue between Marcos and Robredo.

Panelo stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte, who is “always on the side of the law,” would merely enforce the law.

“Again, we will not intrude into the competence and the authority of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. It has to decide on its own on the basis of what is required by law and the evidence,” he said.

“We will leave it to them. We are not [in the position to intervene]. We will leave it to the tribunal to decide on irs own, whatever pending cases it has,” the Palace official added. (SunStar Philippines)


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