‘End Marcos’ electoral fiction’: Akbayan, youth groups urge PET to junk Bongbong's poll protest

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2020 06:21 PM

Members of various youth groups led by the Akbayan Citizens' Action Party file a letter at the Supreme Court in Manila on Oct. 7, 2020, urging the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to decide and dismiss with finality the election protest of 2016 losing vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo. The SC, sitting as the PET, recently required the Commission on Elections and the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on pending issues related to the protest. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party and several youth groups on Wednesday urged Supreme Court magistrates, who comprise the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to junk the election protest filed by defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a letter addressed to SC justices, the group argued the case was already “ripe for decision” and should be dismissed immediately.

“The rules clearly state that for Marcos' protest to prosper and expand to other provinces, he should get substantial recovery from the 3 provinces he had identified — Iloilo, Camarines Sur, and Negros Oriental. The dictator's son failed to do [this], based on the results of the recount. Actually, the recount added another 15,093 votes to Vice President Robredo,” the letter said.

The group is referring to Rule 65 of the PET Rules, which allows a protest to be dismissed “without further consideration of the other provinces” if the protestant will most probably fail to make out his case after the initial recount involving 3 provinces.

The PET initial recount showed Robredo’s slim margin of around 263,000 votes increased by 15,000 votes, based on the PET’s ruling in October 2019.

But instead of dismissing the election protest, the PET, by a vote of 11-2, required both parties to comment and recently, even the Comelec and the Office of the Solicitor General on whether the PET could look into Marcos’ third cause of action seeking to annul the elections in Maguindanao, Basilan and Lanao de Sur.

The Marcos camp welcomed the recent resolution of PET, but Atty. Vic Rodriguez, the spokesman of Bongbong, said, "Considering the very thin time left in the term of the contested position, our protest is under real threat of becoming moot and academic by events leading to 2022 such as the filing of candidacy, campaign and national election that would reduce the clamor and right of the people to know who really won the vice presidency illusory."

Akbayan and the other youth groups said there was no more reason to keep the protest going.

“Prolonging this electoral protest does not benefit anyone except the Marcos family. We are not blind to the fact that his run as Vice President last 2016 elections was one step towards realizing the attempt at the complete political rehabilitation of the Marcos family,” they said in their letter.

“Each day that the final PET decision is delayed gives the Marcoses more opportunities to undermine the people's voice in the 2016 elections… We call on the PET to once and for all end Mr. Marcos' electoral fiction,” it added.

The letter was signed by Akbayan chair emeritus and former Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Ann Rosales and leaders of youth groups Akbayan Youth, Youth Resist, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking, Millennials PH, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, UP ALYANSA, Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality and the youth sector of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa.

Wearing black shirts and holding placards saying “Marcos Talo” (Marcos, you lost!), a few members of some of the youth groups joined the filing of the letter at the Supreme Court.

“Malinaw ang mensahe, natalo si Marcos. Ang isang protest na kini-claim ng Marcos family ay isang delusyon. 'Yun ang malinaw para sa aming mga kabataan at mga kasama naming youth organizations na pumirma sa letter,” John Anthony Jacob, convenor of Youth Resist, said.

“Habang tumatagal, it actually is an injustice doon sa mga taong bumoto talaga. Kami po ay naniniwala na dapat itigil na ito,” Dr. RJ Naguit of Akbayan Youth said.

“Isa itong malawakang issue para ibalik sa kapangyarihan ang mga Marcoses. Hindi na po natin dapat hayaan ito,” he added.