VP Leni camp: Marcos request for 3 hearing officers impractical

MANILA-- The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday the request of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to have three hearing officers in the preliminary conference on his poll protest is "impractical" and "premature."

Robredo counsel Romulo Macalintal noted that the three causes of action presented by the Marcos camp are all interconnected.

"These issues are all interconnected. It is improper for three hearing officers to resolve the said issues separately," Macalintal said.

"There is only one lead lawyer for the protestant and the protestee. Surely, the lead lawyer has to be present in every stage of the hearing and cannot be in three places at the same time," he added.

Marcos had raised three main issues in his election protest, namely, the flawed automated election system (AES), the failure of elections in several provinces in Mindanao and the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic's Marlon Garcia of a new hash code (or a new script program) into the transparency server on the day of the elections.

George Erwin Garcia, Marcos counsel, earlier said each cause of action presents a specific set of witness and evidence, making it better to have one separate hearing officer for each one them.

The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has set the preliminary conference on Marcos' poll protest on June 21, 2017 at 2p.m.

Macalintal said the Marcos camp is preempting the PET's action in filing the urgent motion, as the tribunal has yet to rule on whether or not to sustain the 3 causes of action.

"Without the preliminary conference, the motion to have three Hearing Officers is practically intended to condition the minds of the people, if not those of the members of the PET, of the issues Marcos seems to dictate upon the tribunal," he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency