Marcos petition not a valid poll protest: Robredo camp

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2016 10:38 AM | Updated as of Jun 30 2016 11:00 AM

Marcos petition not a valid poll protest: Robredo camp 1
Senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA - The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo insisted Thursday that the grounds of the election protest filed against her by Senator Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos are inadmissible before the Supreme Court.

Robredo lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the three issues cited by Marcos' petition do not fall under the jurisdiction of the SC, which acts as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Marcos on Wednesday urged PET to declare him as the duly elected vice president, saying that Robredo's lead in the vice-presidential race was a product of weaknesses in the automated election system (AES), "traditional election abuses," and Smartmatic's alteration of a script in the transparency server.

READ: Marcos files election protest vs Robredo

Macalintal, however, told radio dzMM that these allegations cannot constitute an election protest.

The lawyer said the first part of Marcos's protest, which concerns the supposed flaws of the AES, is an issue between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its election technology provider.

"Walang kapangyarihan ang Presidential Electoral Tribunal sa ganyang issue sapagkat anong pakialam ng PET sa kontrata ng Comelec at Smartmatic? Iyan ay dismissible agad," he said.

Meanwhile, traditional election abuses -- like vote-buying pre-shading, intimidation and failure of elections, among others -- are considered election offenses.

Petitions citing election offenses are handled by the Comelec and not the high court, according to Macalintal.

Macalintal said PET also has no jurisdiction over the third part of the protest, which focuses on the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic's Marlon Garcia of a new hash code into the transparency server.

"Anong kinalaman ng PET sa bagay na iyan? Mag-file sila [Marcos] ng criminal case laban kay Marlon Garcia," he said.

Macalintal also noted that the protest merely delves into complaints against Comelec and Smartmatic, and was not able to tag Robredo in any alleged attempt to rig the polls.

The lawyer said the protest also failed to show that Robredo, Smartmatic and Comelec conspired to commit electoral fraud.

"Parang ang lumalabas e puro reklamo lang nila laban sa Comelec at Smartmatic, na walang kinalaman si Ms. Robredo. Dapat patunayan niya na mayroon conspiracy between Robredo, Smartmatic and Comelec para mabago mo iyung resulta ng halalan.

"Walang sinasabi doon na si Ms. Robredo ay nakipagsabawatan sa Comelec, Smartmatic o kanino man para madaya si Mr. Marcos," he said.

Macalintal concluded that the 1,200-page petition of Marcos cannot be considered a valid protest.

"Kung ganyan lang ang protesta, hindi protesta iyan. That is a complaint against Comelec or a suspect for election offense, na ang may jurisdiction ay Law Department ng Commission on Elections," he said.

EXPENSES

He added that mounting an election protest would take at least P127 million in legal fees, compensation for election revisors, and expenses for retrieving ballot boxes and conducting technical examination.

Resolving the protest would also take some 600 working days, Macalintal said.

Marcos, however, is confident that the case will be resolved by the SC justices quickly due to the huge volume of evidence he has submitted. The annexes attached to his petition are around 20,000 pages long, he said.

Marcos, the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, also stressed that this legal fight is no longer only for his own benefit but for the whole Filipino electorate.

"Hindi na ito tungkol sa akin. Ito ay tungkol na sa mga milyong-milyong boto na winala at sa milyong-milyong botante kung kaninong mga boses ay hindi narinig ng ating Comelec, ng ating sistema ng halalan.

"Ito ay hindi lang tungkol sa aking kandidatura kundi sa proseso natin ng paghalal, na dapat ayusin nang hindi na mangyari ulit itong napakagarapal, napakanakakahiyang ginawa, na pinagtatawan tayo ng buong mundo," he said.

Robredo, candidate of the Liberal Party, won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes, only 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes of Marcos, her closest rival.

Robredo has repeatedly denied allegations of rigging the polls, adding that Marcos' accusations are a disservice to Filipino voters.

She was sworn in as the 14th Vice President of the Philippines Thursday morning.

READ: VP Leni: The Widow in Tsinelas