MANILA, Philippines – Vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr will be filing an electoral protest before June ends, his lawyers confirmed.
“The target date for filing [the] electoral protest is June 27. Our deadline is on June 29,” lawyer Jose Amorado told reporters Tuesday, June 7.
Amorado, who has filed several complaints against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic, said that their protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) is still a work in progress.
Amorado explained, “We have to target the areas where we would like the ballot boxes to be opened.”
Marcos’ election lawyer George Garcia, meanwhile, said they are also preparing several documents as they will be raising more issues besides under voting, which was hotly debated during Congress’ official canvassing of votes for president and vice president last May 23 to 25.
“Akala kasi nung kabila, under voting lang ang contention namin,” he told Rappler in a phone interview. (Our opponents thought under voting was our only contention.) (READ: Macalintal: Under voting doesn’t mean electoral fraud)
“There are a lot of requirements, documents that need to be attached like affidavits, election documents,” he added.
Vice President-elect Leni Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal earlier told the Marcos camp to reconsider their plan to file a protest before the PET.
Macalinal, also a seasoned election lawyer like Garcia, said that it will be too costly for the senator – in terms of time, money, and effort – to proceed with the legal battle since it will take more than 3 years and millions of pesos for it to be resolved.
He also pointed out if Marcos decides to run for reelection as senator in the 2019 midterm elections, this would invalidate his protest. This is what happened to Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s case against former president Fidel Ramos.
In 1992, Santiago, then a formidable candidate, lost to Ramos. Santiago filed a case before the PET but this was dismissed when she ran as senator and won in 1995.
To this, Garcia said: “Bakit siya masyadong concerned sa amin, hindi naman siya ang magfa-file. Bakit hindi na lang ipaubaya sa mismong kandidato?” (Why is he so concerned about us, he is not the one filing. Why doesn’t he just leave it to the candidate?)
He also said in a mix of English and Filipino: “I am sure they will file a counter protest when we file. They will exercise their right. It is in the same manner that we have the right, they also have the right to have a counter protest.”
Marcos was entangled in a widely contested vice presidential race with Robredo after the administration candidate snatched the lead from the senator, then the poll frontrunner, in the partial and unofficial canvassing of votes. (READ: Robredo vs Marcos: The long and winding road to the vice presidency)
The senator’s camp had since alleged electoral fraud and insisted that the automated election system was compromised when an official from Smartmatic introduced a “cosmetic change” in the Transparency Server.
In the days leading to the official canvassing of votes, Marcos’ representatives filed several complaints against Comelec and Smartmatic officials. The poll body did not respond to them. – Rappler.com