Robredo hits Marcos’ failure to follow agreements on poll protest

MANILA-- The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo filed a manifestation before the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), stating that former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., has failed to fulfill any of the agreements reached during the Preliminary Conference regarding his election protest against Vice President.

In an 18-page manifestation through Robredo's legal counsels Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, the Vice President claimed that Marcos' camp reneging on his earlier allegations including the inclusion of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) in his electoral protest.

Robredo's camp noted that Marcos's Comment to the preliminary conference last July 11 backtracked on his first cause of action to "impleading COMELEC as a party [in the case]."

Notwithstanding, in his comment to the preliminary conference guides, Marcos backtracked, without any justifiable reason, on the number of witnesses in his first cause of action, Macalintal said in a manifestation dated August 7, 2017filed before the Supreme Court sitting as PET.

Macalintal said that Marcos, in his Comment to the Preliminary Conference Guides, again did not indicate the names of these witnesses along with the precinct numbers.

Instead, protestant Marcos made the same reservation as to the presentation of three registered voters in the Two Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty-Six (2,756) clustered precincts in the Provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan, said Macalintal.During the preliminary conference, Marcos agreed to implead the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as a party in his first cause of action.

However, Macalintal said Marcos had another change of heart in his comment to the preliminary conference guide, registering his vehement objection to the Comelec's inclusion in his protest.

Thus, while claiming that the aim of an election protest is to determine among the candidates obtained the majority of votes, protestant Marcos advances his First Cause of Action which will not achieve this result, Macalintal said.

Macalintal also debunked Marcos' claim that his three causes of action complement each other, saying they are inconsistent with each other.

Marcos' first cause of action attacks the integrity of the Automated Election System (AES), which is inconsistent with his second and third causes of action.

The Comelec is recently embroiled in controversy as wife of COMELEC chair Juan Andres Bautista alleged of corruption

Also in June this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted several personnel of Smartmatic and Comelec on violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, on alleged data tweaking on the 2016 national elections.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29 last year, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May also year. He sought annulment of about a million votes cast in three provinces - Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.

In his preliminary conference brief, Marcos also sought the recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Robredo filed her answer in August last year and also filed counter-protest and questioned the results in over 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.

She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.

But the tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo's plea and proceeded with the case after finding of sufficiency in form and substance in the protest.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes.

Source: Philippine News Agency