Poll tribunal junks Marcos plea to invalidate 2016 results

In a resolution, the PET, composed of all the 15 justices of the Supreme Court (SC), also decided on concentrate on Marcos' bid to annul the results of the election for vice president in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan on the grounds of "terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters...." Because he asked for the retention of 92,509 vote-counting machines (VCMs)...

"In this Resolution, the Supreme Court already junked Mr. Marcos' first course of action in his poll protest which is to determine the authenticity and integrity of the 2016 automated elections".

"To be sure, the tribunal can not allow this exercise to even begin, especially if it were to consider the amount of resources and time it will demand from the tribunal", it added. The PET held that the first cause of action may be dispensed with for "judicial economy" and for the speedy resolution of the case.

Macalintal said that "since Marcos took the same position of Tolentino in asking for the retention of these VCMs and since it is very clear that Comelec retained custody thereof on account of Marcos' protest and his repeated demand to retain the said machines, it would be very unfair if the entire Filipino people would be the ones to shoulder the said 2 billion pesos just to sustain Marcos' self-serving unmeritorious and baseless election protest". In other words, both these causes of action (second and third) remain intact independent of the first cause of action.

Marcos' plea for the inclusion of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao was deferred since Rule 65 of the PET allows the revision or recount of ballots "on the designated pilot provinces first".

Romulo Macalintal made the announcement on Tuesday, citing the August 29 resolution of the PET on Marcos' poll protest against Robredo.

PET earlier approved Marcos' motion for Comelec to keep the poll paraphernalia so these can be used for "technical examination, forensic investigation, verification and analysis".

The SC has ordered the collection of ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

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

In the case of Tolentino, no public funds were used for the cost retaining the VCMs involved in his protest; hence, Macalintal said, the same should apply in Marcos' election protest: no centavo of public funds should be used to pay for the retention of the 92,509 VCMs involved in Marcos protest.

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

Robredo claimed the PET erred in finding Marcos' protest sufficient in form and substance since Marcos allegedly failed to specify the acts or omissions that show electoral fraud, anomalies or irregularities in the precincts subject of his protest.

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