Former Senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. urged anew the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to speed up the proceedings in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a seven-page urgent motion dated May 12, Marcos asked the SC to designate at least three hearing commissioners who will assist the Tribunal during the upcoming preliminary conference.
According to Marcos, the designating of three commissioners will help in attaining “an orderly, simplified and expeditious disposition of this electoral contest, considering that there are three causes of action raised in this election protest.”
Among the causes of actions Marcos raised in his protest include the alleged flawed automated election system (AES), and the failure of elections in several provinces in Mindanao.
He also raised the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code into the Transparency Server on the day of the elections.
Insisting that PET should take Marcos’ allegations, his camp underscored that the protest is “not only for the benefit of the winner, but for the sake of public interest.”
“In a long line of decided cases, this honorable tribunal has consistently ruled that an election case, unlike an ordinary action, is imbued with public interest,” Marcos said.
Marcos argued that his protest “involves not only the adjudication of the private interests of rival candidates, but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the electorate.”
“Public interest demands that this electoral controversy be resolved with dispatch to determine once and for all the genuine choice of the electorate for the contested position,” he added.
In the May 2016 vice presidential election, Robredo won the position with only around 263,000 votes more than Marcos.
Marcos stressed that it is “neither fair nor just to keep in office for an uncertain period one whose right to it is under suspicion.”
He also accused Robredo of intentionally delaying the election protest.
Robredo’s camp, for its part, claimed that Marcos’ recent motion is “premature and impractical.”
“This is very premature. We have not yet even held our preliminary conference where the issues to be resolved by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) will be defined,” Robredo’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said in a statement on Wednesday, May 17.
“And now, Marcos is again preempting the action of the PET on this matter,” he added.
The preliminary conference is slated on June 21, 2017.
Last month, Marcos paid the initial P36 million of the P66.2 million required for the proceedings of his election protest. He questioned 39,221 clustered precincts which are composed of total 132,446 established precincts.
Robredo, meanwhile, has paid P8 million as first installment of the total P15.5-million fee for her counterprotest. She contested 8,042 clustered precincts equivalent to 31,278 established precincts.