(Eagle News)–The Commission on Elections should defend and stand by the 2016 Automated Election System which it “designed, procured and implemented” rather than make premature calls about holding special elections where former Senator Bongbong Marcos claims irregularities took place, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said.
In a statement, Robredo camp’s legal consultant Emil Marañon III said in the first place, Marcos “has yet to hurdle Rule 65” of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal rules after a manual recount of votes cast in the provinces of Negros Oriental, Camarines Sur and Iloilo found that he did not obtain substantial recovery.
Robredo’s camp has said that under Rule 65, Marcos poll protest should have been junked outright following the results which the Supreme Court, acting as the PET, has already ordered released to both parties.
The provision specifically says that “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.”
“This discussion [on holding special elections] is better reserved when that day comes,” Marañon said, adding that the question of special elections remains a “very remote possibility.”
He added “holding a special election is not as simple,” as there were “many considerations, not just a matter of willingness on Comelec’s part.”
“Administrative questions have to be settled. Who will finance the elections? Is it Bongbong Marcos? If it is the government, should there be prior appropriation from Congress?”
“Can Comelec spend its own savings for it? Is there a line item for special elections arising from an election protest that would facilitate a realignment?” Marañon asked.
Earlier, the Comelec said it was ready to hold special elections in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao if the PET orders so.
The three provinces were part of Marcos’ third cause of action in his electoral protest against Robredo.
The PET has asked both parties to submit their memoranda on Marcos’ request to have Robredo’s election returns there nullified due to alleged terrorism, among other things, and directed them to comment on the results of the manual recount covering Iloilo, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental within 20 days of receipt of the order.