PET insists on jurisdiction over VP poll dispute
MANILA (UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will proceed to hear the election protest of former Senator and defeated May 2016 vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. against Vice-President Leni Robredo. In an 8-page resolution dated January 24, 2017, the tribunal junked Robredo's bid for the dismissal of Marcos' election protest, insisting on its jurisdiction over the case.
Robredo argued that Marcos, son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, should have elevated his case before Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, as a pre-proclamation protest.
The PET, however, ruled that by virtue of Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, in relation to Rule 13 of the 2010 PET Rules, "the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President of the Philippines.
The PET pointed out that Robredo mistakenly argued that questions on the authenticity, correctness or validity of the statement of votes (SOV) and certificates of canvass (COC) are excluded from the tribunal's jurisdiction.
The tribunal said that the above-stated constitutional provision which empowers the PET to be the sole judge in presidential and vice-presidential contests includes "the duty to correct manifest errors in the statement of votes as well as the certificates of canvass."
The PET also ruled that Marcos' protest was sufficient in form and substance, but stressed that the veracity of his allegations has yet to be proved in the course of the pendency of the case.
"On the matter of sufficiency of the protest, the same is already beyond dispute. With the issuance of summons, the tribunal has found the protest to be sufficient in form and substance. The protest contained narrations of ultimate facts on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in the contested clustered precincts, which the protestant needs to prove in due time.
"However, while the Tribunal finds the Protest sufficient in form and substance, it must be emphasized that, as to the veracity of the protestant's allegations, nothing yet has been proved. The protest is only sufficient for the tribunal to proceed and give the protestant the opportunity to prove his case in accordance with the 2010 PET Rules," the resolution read.