MANILA, Philippines - Celebrity congresswomen Imelda Romualdez Marcos and Lucy Torres-Gomez are just 2 of 56 members of the 15th Congress who are facing electoral protests before the House of Representatives Electoral Tirbunal (HRET).
Marcos (2nd District, Ilocos Norte) faces case number 10-002 challenge filed by Mariano R. Nalupta and Ferdinand Ignacio.
Gomez (4th District, Leyte) faces 2 charges, case number 10009 filed by Eufrocino C. Codilla, Jr. and 10031, filed by Silverio Tagolino.
Other prominent repondents in other electoral protests are former Philippine National Police (PNP) director Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd district, Pangasinan) filed by Maria Blanca Kim Lokin, and Nur-Anna "Lady Ann" Lahidullah (2nd District, Sulu) filed by Asani Tamang.
Aside from prominent respondents, there are also prominent petitioners who filed cases questioning the electoral victories of congressmen who defeated them in the May 10, 2010 elections.
Among them are former Arroyo Cabinet Members Agnes Devanadera, who filed against Wilfredo Mark Enverga (1st District Quezon) and Eduardo Ermita, against Tomas Apacible (1st District Batangas).
Also noteable were former congressmen who were defeated in the last elections.
- Thomas Dumpit Jr filed against Eufranio Eriguel (2nd district, La Union)
- Bienvenido Abante filed against Rosenda Ocampo (6th District Manila)
- Matias Defensor against John Edgar Banal (3rd district Quezon City)
- Candido Pancrudo against Jesus Emanuel Paras (1st district Bukidnon)
- Ruy Elias Lopez against Isidro Ungab (3rd district Davao City)
- Didagen Dilangalen against Bai Sandra S.A Sema (1st district Maguindanao)
- Cecillia Seares-Luna against Marie Jocelyn Bernos (Abra)
- Liwayway Vinzons Chato against Elmer Panotes (2nd district, Caramines Norte)
- Raul Gonzalez Jr. against Jerry Treñas (Iloilo City)
- Edmund Reyes against Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque)
Bayan Muna party-list is also facing electoral protests: one from the Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, and another case from former military general and immediate former ANAD party-List representative Jovito Palparan Jr.
Of the 56, 6 have been dismissed, including one against Vice President Jejomar Binay's daughter, Marlen Abigail Binay (2nd district, Makati City). Two have been withdrawn.
The number of electoral protests are expected to increase once the remaining unproclaimed party-list representatives are allowed to take office.
The law gives defeated candidates10 days from proclamation day to file electoral protests against their victorious rivals.
Upon filing, candidates have to file a P10,000 filing fee and a minimum cash deposit of P150,000 to defray costs of recalling ballot boxes.
Petitioners have 10 days to pay the deposit in full; otherwise the case is automatically dismissed, which has happened to some 7 cases already.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, for his part, downplayed the case filed against his group, calling it a case of harassment from Palparan. Casiño is confident the protest will eventually be dismissed.
House rules in the previous Congress allow for 6 congressmen to join 3 Supreme Court associate justices in the tribunal.
For the 15th Congress, the HRET will be chaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Meanwhile, in a twist of fate, 14th Congress HRET Member Rep. Justin Chipeco (2nd district, Laguna) now finds himself a respondent before the HRET in a case filed by defeated rival Severino Vergara.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, however, said there is "no assurance fellow representatives to vote for the colleague. Party affiliations should also be cosnidered. Thats why there's 3 Supreme Court justices to balance political from legal."
Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez (1st district) was unseated by the HRET in the 14th Congress but he was never replaced because he filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.