THE Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has denied a move of Vice President Leni Robredo to dismiss an electoral complaint filed against her by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, saying it has jurisdiction over the protest “which is sufficient in form and substance.”
In an eight-page resolution, the PET said that under the 1987 Constitution, it has jurisdiction to act on the electoral protest.
“Verily, the Tribunal affirms its jurisdiction over the instant protest, which is sufficient in form and substance. The protestee’s (Robredo’s) prayer to dismiss the protest for lack of jurisdiction and for being insufficient in form and substance is denied,” it added.
Marcos’ camp welcomed the PET’s January 24 resolution.
“We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward. There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice presidential race last May,” said Marcos lawyer Victor Rodriguez.
Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said the resolution that the protest is sufficient in form and substance “is a procedural matter.”
“It only means that the PET will proceed with the case. It does not in any way reflect the validity or merits of any allegation of fraud or irregularity contesting the proclamation of Vice President Leni Robredo,” he said.
“Thus, the PET stressed that, `as to the veracity of the protestant’s allegations, nothing yet has been proved.’ This means that Mr. Marcos is just being given `the opportunity to prove his case,’” he added.
Macalintal also said the case would still go through “the usual tedious and lengthy process of revision and recount of the ballots.”
Robredo won by about 260,000 votes in the elections last year over Marcos who claims votes were stolen from him and that he is the rightful winner.
Marcos has asked the court to order a recount of about a million votes in Mindanao and sought the nullification of balloting in three provinces. Robredo in turn asked the court to reject his petition.
In the eight-page resolution, the PET said that with regard to the sufficiency of protest, it is also sufficient in form and substance.
“The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time,” the PET said.
“However, while the Tribunal finds the protest sufficient in form and substance, it must be emphasized that, as to the veracity of the protestant’s allegation, nothing has yet been proved. The protest is only sufficient for the Tribunal to proceed and give the protestant’s the opportunity to prove his case in accordance with the 2010 PET Rules,” it added.
Robredo, in her answer to Marcos’s protest, argued that the PET has no jurisdiction over the election protest because it improperly questions the authenticity and due execution of certificates of canvass and that it should have been raised in a pre-proclamation case before Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers.
Marcos has said he decided to file the electoral protest due to the series of frauds, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections and that such activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party. – With Angela Lopez de Leon and Reuters