Robredo seeks dismissal of Marcos' poll protest

VICE President Leni Robredo asked Monday the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the electoral protest filed against her by losing rival former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a reply to the petition filed by Marcos, Robredo, represented by her legal counsel, Maria Bernadette Sardillo, said there is no basis for the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to declare null and void the results of the May 9 vice presidential race.

According to Sardillo, they have witnesses that can attest that the attachments Marcos submitted to the PET containing the affidavits of some individuals alleging that there were election fraud were not true.

"May mga testigo po na humarap sa amin na nagsasabi na hindi totoo ang pirma nila sa salaysay na kinabit ni Ginoong Marcos sa kanyang protesta at karamihan po, actually lahat po ng kinabit niyang salaysay sa kanyang protesta ay pro forma, o minsan fill in the blanks lang po," Sardillo said.

"May isa nga po kaming abugado na chineck namin, ninotario ang salaysay pero hindi naman pala siya notario dito sa Manila," she added.

Robredo's legal counsel argued that the grounds alleged in Marcos' protest are not proper grounds for a poll protest.

Sardillo added that the first part is just practically a complaint by Marcos against the action of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the lease of the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) from Smartmatic alleging, among others, that said machines have no record of prior use in other elections in other countries.

"This could not be a ground to contest the election of Robredo since an election protest is a contest between two candidates and not a case involving the problem between Comelec and Smartmatic," the lawyer stressed.

The second part of Marcos' petition according to Robredo's legal counsel "is a just a mere series of wild accusations, guesses, and surmises which renders it miserably wanting in sufficiency both in form and substance."

She pointed out that there is "no evidence nor allegation in Marcos' protest that show Robredo's direct or indirect participation in any of the alleged incidents of election fraud and that there is nothing to show that at least 50 percent of the ballots cast were affected or 50 percent of the municipalities involved more than 50 percent of its precincts were totally affected."

Robredo's camp also belied Marcos' claim that the changes in the transparency server have affected the results of the election.

"The changing of the source code for the Comelec’s transparency server was not a fraudulent act or irregularity that affected the results of the May 2016 elections for Vice-President. The Comelec already explained that the source code changes did not affect the data collected by the transparency server," Robredo said.

Marcos, who lost to Robredo in the last May 9 polls, in his petition claimed that the vice presidential race was marred by "massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities."

In his petition, he asked the PET to reopen the ballot boxes in 36,465 clustered precincts including ballot boxes in Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Samar, Isabela, Pangasinan, Zamboanga and Bukidnon—Marcos' bailiwick.

The former senator also requested the PET to void the vote results in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan, and to have a vote recount in 22 provinces and five highly urbanized cities in the country.

Marcos, an independent candidate, was defeated by Liberal Party bet Robredo by only 263,473 votes. Robredo obtained 14,418,817 votes, while Marcos got 14,155,344. (Sunnex)
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