SC dismisses Marcos petition to void Leni’s proclamation

September 5, 2017 - 4:18 PM
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Bongbong Marcos file
Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (Reuters file)

MANILA – The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has dismissed the first cause of action of Senator Bongbong Marcos, which had sought to void Vice President Leni Robredo’s election and proclamation as the second highest official of the Philippines.

Marcos had contended that “the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) generated by the Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) is not authentic, and may not be used as basis to determine the number of votes that the candidates for Vice President received” during the May 2016 elections.

“The SC, as PET, dismisses Marcos Jr.’s 1st cause of action (annulment of proclamation) in PET No. 005; only two causes of action left,” the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office said on Twitter.

Robredo’s camp, in a press release on Tuesday, said the PET decision, while dealing with just the first of three causes of action, effectively “upholds the credibility and authenticity of the Automated Election System that was used in the 2016 elections.”

Robredo’s camp cited the August 29 resolution of the PET as saying, “allowing the First Cause of Action to continue would be an exercise in futility and would have no practical effect. To be sure, the Tribunal cannot allow this exercise to even begin, especially if it were to consider the amount of resources and time it will demand from the Tribunal.”

“Even if protestant succeeds in proving his First Cause of Action, this will not mean that he has already won the position of Vice President as this can only be determined by a manual recount of all votes in all precincts,” the PET’s resolution said.

“We are happy that a resolution was issued by the Supreme Court denying or dismissing Mr. Marcos’ first cause of action,” said Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal in a press conference on Tuesday.

Marcos’ petitions ask for three things:

  • The nullification of the proclamation of Robredo as vice president;
  • a recount of “paper ballots and/or the ballot images…as well as an examination, verification, and analysis of voters’ receipts, election returns, audit logs, transmission logs, the lists of voters, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List, and voters registration records, the books of voters and other pertinent election documents and/or paraphernalia used in the elections.” This motion also seeks as review of the “automated election equipment and records such as the Vote Counting Machines, CCS units, Secure Digital (SD) cards, and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images in all of the 36,465 protested clustered precincts;” and
  • the annulment of election results for the position of Vice President in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.

‘Marcos, not taxpayers, must pay P2B’

Macalintal had earlier asked that Marcos be required to deposit P2 billion because the former lawmaker asked the Commission on Elections to “retain custody of 92,509 vote counting machines and other equipment used in the 2016 election in connection with his pending election protest.”

The fee would represent Comelec’s cost in retaining the VCMs instead of returning them to the supplier Smartmatic by December 2016, or six months after the elections, as their contract had stipulated.