(Eagle News)–Vice President Leni Robredo increased her lead in the three pilot provinces of Negros Oriental, Camarines Sur and Iloilo after a revision and appreciation of the 2016 votes for the vice presidential race there, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal said.
According to the PET, Robredo obtained 14,436,337 votes, while Marcos got 14,157,771.
“After the revision and appreciation, the lead of protestee Robredo increased from 263,473 to 278,566,” the PET said.
The PET, however, required both parties to “submit their position stating their factual and legal basis” before it proceeds to make a ruling on the effects of the results of the revision and appreciation of votes for the pilot provinces in Marcos’ second cause of action.
“Likewise the tribunal deems it essential to meet due process requirements to require protestant and protestee to now provide their position in relation to the third cause of action of Marcos,” the PET said.
Marcos’ third cause of action pertains to an annulment of the 2016 election results for vice president in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao due to alleged terrorism, violence, force, threats, intimidation, pre-shading of ballots, and vote substitution.
Justices Antonio Carpio and Alfredo Caguioa had dissented with the SC en banc majority, with Caguioa saying Marcos’ poll protest under Rule 65 of the 2010 PET rules should have been junked following the results of the recount covering Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Camarines Sur in favor of Robredo.
The rule states that the tribunal may require the protestant to indicate the province or provinces numbering not more than three that best exemplify the frauds or irregularities alleged in his petition, and “if upon examination of such ballots and proof, and after making reasonable allowances, the tribunal is convinced that taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant will most probably fail to make out his case, the protest may forthwith be dismissed, without further consideration of the other provinces mentioned in the protest.”
But according to the PET, it would “comply with its constitutionally mandated duty allowing the parties the opportunity to examine the results of the revision and appreciation of the pilot provinces as well as comment so that they are fully and fairly heard on all the related legal issues.”
It noted that “this controversy has spawned very serious but unfounded and careless speculations on the part of many partisan observers who, on the basis of incomplete information, would rather latch on to their favorite conspiratorial theories rather than critically examine the facts and the law involved in this case.”
“Based on the submissions of the parties, the tribunal can therefore confidently and judiciously deliberate on the proper course of action as clarified by the actual position of the parties of the common issues we have already identified,” the PET said.