By Tricia Aquino
THE SUPREME Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has dismissed the first cause of action of former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. which had sought to void Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo’s election and proclamation.
Mr. Marcos had contended that “the Certificates of Canvass (CoCs) generated by the Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) (are) not authentic, and may not be used as basis to determine the number of votes that the candidates for Vice-President received” during the May 2016 elections.
Ms. Robredo’s camp, in a press release on Tuesday, said the PET decision effectively “upholds the credibility and authenticity of the Automated Election System that was used in the 2016 elections.”
Her camp cited the Aug. 29 resolution of the PET as saying, “allowing the First Cause of Action to continue would be an exercise in futility and would have no practical effect. To be sure, the Tribunal cannot allow this exercise to even begin, especially if it were to consider the amount of resources and time it will demand from the Tribunal.”
“Even if protestant succeeds in proving his First Cause of Action, this will not mean that he has already won the position of Vice-President as this can only be determined by a manual recount of all votes in all precincts,” the PET’s resolution said.
“We are happy that a resolution was issued by the Supreme Court denying or dismissing Mr. Marcos’s first cause of action,” said Ms. Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal in a press conference on Tuesday.
Mr. Macalintal had earlier asked that Mr. Marcos be required to deposit P2 billion because the former lawmaker asked the Commission on Elections to “retain custody of 92,509 vote counting machines (VCM) and other equipment used in the 2016 election in connection with his pending election protest.”
The fee would represent Comelec’s cost in retaining the VCMs instead of returning them to the supplier Smartmatic by December 2016, or six months after the elections, as their contract had stipulated.