The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), junked a motion by Bongbong Marcos that challenged the authenticity of the Automated Election System in the 2016 elections.
In a resolution dated August 29, PET dismissed Marcos’ first cause of action in his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, calling it an “exercise in futility.”
“Allowing the First Cause of Action to continue would be an exercise in futility and would have no practical effect,” the high court said in its decision.
Defeated Marcos had accused Robredo’s Liberal Party of electronic cheating following the surge the latter’s votes during the unofficial canvassing, and the unauthorized script change in the system.
“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,” it added. Romulo Macalintal, the lead lawyer of the Robredo camp, welcomed the tribunal’s landmark decision.
“We are happy that a resolution was issued by the Supreme Court denying or dismissing Mr. Marcos’ first cause of action,” Macalintal said.
In a motion filed Tuesday, the election lawyer meanwhile asked the tribunal to order Marcos to deposit PHP2 billion (USD40 million) for the retention cost of the 92,509 vote counting machines and other equipment used in the 2016 polls.
“We asked the PET to immediately resolve our earlier and pending clarification whether Marcos should be held liable for the PHP2 Billion cost of the retention of said VCMs by the Comelec or a resolution be issued directing Marcos to deposit the said amount,” Macalintal said.
PET earlier approved Marcos’ motion for Comelec to keep the poll paraphernalia so these can be used for “technical examination, forensic investigation, verification and analysis.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also junked Robredo’s motion seeking partial dismissal of Marcos’ poll protest for “lack of merit.”
It also affirmed the sufficiency of form and substance of the said poll protest against the Vice President.