MANILA - The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo called the request of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to have 3 hearing officers in the preliminary conference on his poll protest "impractical" and "premature."
In a statement released Wednesday, Robredo counsel Romulo Macalintal pointed out that the three causes of action presented by the Marcos camp are all interconnected."These issues are all interconnected. It is improper for three Hearing Officers to resolve the said issues separately," Macalintal said.
"There is only one lead lawyer for the protestant and the protestee. Surely, the lead lawyer has to be present in every stage of the hearing and cannot be in three places at the same time," he added.
Marcos' causes of action include a "flawed" automated election system, failure of elections in several Mindanao provinces, and the unauthorized introduction of a new hash code into the transparency server on election day.
George Erwin Garcia, Marcos counsel, earlier said each cause of action presents a specific set of witness and evidence, making it better to have one separate hearing officer for each one them.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has set the preliminary conference on Marcos' poll protest on June 21, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
Macalintal said the Marcos camp is preempting the PET's action in filing the urgent motion, as the tribunal has yet to rule on whether or not to sustain the 3 causes of action.
"Without the preliminary conference, the motion to have three Hearing Officers is practically intended to condition the minds of the people, if not those of the members of the PET, of the issues Marcos seems to dictate upon the tribunal," he said.