MANILA, Philippines – Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said 10 days would not be enough to answer the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo, since it is "the longest election protest ever filed" in the country.
In a statement on Sunday, July 10, Macalintal said the "unprecedented" protest of the defeated vice presidential candidate has 1,000 pages, plus more than 20,000 documents in its annexes.
"Robredo and her lawyers might find it difficult or be pressed for time to answer said protest since Presidential Electoral Tribunal rules only give Robredo 10 days from receipt of PET order to answer said protest," said Macalintal, who had represented Robredo in Congress' canvassing of votes.
The lawyer added that the Supreme Court, acting as the PET, could have postponed action on the election protest because of its length.
The PET will instead take it up again in an en banc session on Tuesday, July 12.
"For sure, it will take more time for the 15-member PET to study each and every page of the 1,000-page protest and the 20,000 annexes before it could take appropriate action," said Macalintal.
He also said that Marcos' call for the declaration of a failure of elections in several provinces is not within the PET's jurisdiction, but under the "exclusive jurisdiction of the Comelec en banc."
"It is imperative for the PET to first make a judicial determination if Marcos' protest is sufficient in substance or if he is really asking for a recount or a declaration of failure of election," Macalintal added.
His lawyer, George Garcia, said they are seeking a recount in 27 provinces and cities covering 36,000 precincts. They also want the results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur nullified.
Marcos had said they have both documentary and testimonial evidence to prove there was poll fraud. – Rappler.com