Robredo to SC: Stop Marcos from skirting rules in his ‘dying’ VP protest
MANILA, Philippines – The lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo are asking the Supreme Court (SC) not to allow her rival, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, from circumventing the rules set by the court in his election case against her.
Robredo’s lawyers Romy Macalintal and Bernadette Sardillo are opposing Marcos’ motion for the SC, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to “immediately” order the technical examination of voting records in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao, votes from which Marcos wants the PET to nullify due to alleged widespread cheating.
The Robredo camp is reacting to the motion that Marcos filed on December 10, 2018, which cited supposed evidence of voters’ substitution in the said 3 provinces from a separate electoral protest filed by ex-Sulu vice governor Abdusakur Tan against Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman.
Marcos argued that, given these findings from the Tan vs Hataman case, there is a renewed need for the PET to subpoena elections records from the 3 ARMM provinces so that a technical examination of the documents can be done immediately.
But Robredo’s lawyers on Thursday, January 17, said this runs against an earlier PET decision, which ruled that Marcos’ request for a technical and forensic examination of voting records could be done only when there is “substantial recovery” from the initial ballot recount in the 3 pilot provinces that Marcos had chosen: Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
“In plain terms, protestant Marcos is seeking to unduly expand his pilot provinces from 3 to 6. This must not be allowed…. Protestant Marcos is desperately trying to save his dying election protest,” said Macalintal and Sardillo in a statement.
They filed on Monday, January 14, their counter-manifestation to Marcos’ extremely urgent manifestation of grave concern with omnibus motion. Rappler obtained copies of both documents Rappler on Thursday, January 17.
Why does Marcos want the forensic examination done soon? In his manifestation, Marcos told the SC that in Tan’s election case against Hataman, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allowed the technical examination of voters’ registration records (VRRs) and election day computerized voters’ list (EDCVLs) in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.
The defeated vice presidential candidate said Tan told the Marcos camp that this technical examination showed that 40,528 signatures and 3,295 thumbprints on the EDCVLs “are not identical” with the VRRs.
Marcos said these can be found in the dactyloscopic and questioned document reports dated June 5, 2018, a copy of which Tan provided to the Marcos camp.
“This staggering latest development compelled protestant Marcos to seek again the aid and assistance of this Honorable Tribunal so that he can preserve and safeguard this vital documentary evidence, which is crucial in proving his 3rd cause of action, that is the annulment of the election results in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao,” said Marcos’ lawyers George Garcia and Joan Padilla.
They then asked the PET to do 3 things: subpoena the relevant documents from the Comelec, investigate the concerned chairman and members of board of election inspectors in the 3 ARMM provinces, and “immediately” direct Comelec to conduct the technical examination of the election records.
Why is the Robredo camp against these? Robredo’s lawyers said Marcos is now “well-aware” that the initial ballot recount in his pilot provinces will “fail to prove any substantial recovery.”
They argued that if the PET grants Marcos’ omnibus motion, the High Court would go against its earlier ruling on the technical and forensic examination of election data from the 3 ARMM provinces.
“For emphasis, protestant Marcos is bound by his choice. He cannot be allowed to change the rules in the middle of the game. Thus, the omnibus motion must be denied,” said Macalintal and Sardillo.