Robredo lawyer: Marcos ‘fishing for evidence’

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, July 5, asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its earlier decision that the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr is sufficient in form and substance.

Robredo's election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, filed a motion for reconsideration before the High Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), on Wednesday, where he argued that Marcos himself was uncertain about his own election protest. 

Based on PET Rules, Marcos and Robredo were ordered to name at most 3 pilot provinces that could prove the sufficiency of their respective protests. 

Macalintal argued, “Marcos named the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental; and yet he made a reservation to change any of these provinces.”

These were mentioned in Marcos’ preliminary conference brief submitted on June 16. 

This, Macalintal stressed, showed that Marcos “is merely fishing for evidence and not sure of his election protest.” 

He could not establish which 3 provinces out of the 30 provinces and highly urbanized cities he protested could demonstrate his much talked about electoral frauds and irregularities,” the veteran election lawyer added.

Using this argument, Robredo’s camp urged the PET to reconsider its  earlier decision declaring Marcos’ case sufficient in form and substance. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case

Marcos prolonging case 

Macalintal also accused Marcos of “prolonging” his protest – an accusation the Marcos camp has since thrown to Robredo. 

Marcos’ motion seeks the technical and forensic examination of all ballots from the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur. These are the provinces where he wants votes nullified due to alleged election fraud. 

According to Macalintal, this examination would involve 3,235,000 documents, 647,000 official ballots, ballot images, voter’s receipts, voter’s names from the list of voters, and names from the Election Day Certified List of Voters. 

“I hope Marcos will not now claim that we are delaying this case. It is as clear as the sunlight that the thrust to prove his case is merely to fish for evidence by asking for recount of ballots and technical examination thereof,” he said. 

“If he could not prove his case during the recount of ballots, he would now rely on the results of the technical examination.  And this is not allowed under existing jurisprudence because once a protestant asked for recount, he could not disregard the results and seek other strategy,” he added. 

The Robredo camp’s recent motion came as the PET is set to conduct the preliminary conference brief on the case on July 11, where the issues and evidences will be outlined and simplified. – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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