Bongbong ‘fishing for evidence’ in poll protest: VP Leni’s lawyer Macalintal

July 5, 2017 - 2:59 PM
Leni-Bongbong combo pic
InterAksyon file photos of Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Bongbong Marcos.

MANILA – Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is just “fishing for evidence” in his ongoing poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, as gleaned from his summary of arguments presented to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the lawyer of Robredo said Wednesday.

Lawyers for Robredo cited as example Marcos’ tentative identification of three provinces that best exemplify the electoral frauds and irregularities alleged in the protest and the counter-protest. Marcos identified three but reserved his right to change these.

The Robredo camp, through lawyer Romy Macalintal, said the Preliminary Conference Brief (PCB) submitted by Marcos at the PET, summarizing his arguments and evidence in his election protest, “clearly exposed that he was merely fishing for evidence and not sure how he wants to proceed with his protest.”

In a recent Supplement to the Motion for Reconsideration Pro Tanto, Macalintal pointed out that PET Rules required Marcos and Robredo to name not more than three (3) provinces best exemplifying the electoral frauds and irregularities alleged in the protest and the counter-protest.

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

This reservation clearly shows “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,” Macalintal said.

Macalintal stressed that “Marcos is even prolonging his protest since he even asked for the technical and forensic examination of ALL the ballots, ballot images, voter’s receipts, names of voters in the voting list and Election Day Certified List of Voters (EDCVL) from the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.”

Such technical and forensic examination involves, according to Macalintal, “3,235,000 documents from said provinces as it would involve the 647,000 official ballots, and the corresponding 647,000 ballot images, 647,000 voter’s receipts, 647,000 names from the list of voters, and 647,000 names from the EDCVL.”

Macalintal said, “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. So much so that 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.”

For Marcos’ reservation “to ask for the present the more than 18 million voters and thousands of members of the board of election inspectors from his protested 39,221 clustered precincts to identify their respective paper ballots and/or ballot images” is an incredible demand, “as it would take years to identify said ballots and ballot images by said registered voters,” Macalintal added.

Lastly, Macalintal cited as yet another “incredible” position of Marcos his request for the PET to allow him to present all the Provincial Election Supervisors of the provinces he protested and the municipalities and cities consisting these provinces.

“Such move clearly shows the incredible position of Marcos because these Comelec officials have no competence and ability to identify said election documents and the equipment used during said election,” Macalintal said.