Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo called on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to uphold its own rules in resolving the election protest filed by losing candidate Bongbong Marcos.
In a manifestation filed Monday, Oct. 14, Robredo’s legal counsel, Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, emphasized that the Vice President “still has the highest respect to the Honorable Tribunal that the Rules will not be changed in the middle of the game.”
Macalintal and Sardillo, in particular, underscored Rule 65 of the 2010 Rules, which the Tribunal has repeatedly cited in response to several motions filed during the proceedings.
Rule 65 states that the election protest must be dismissed if Marcos fails to prove his allegations of fraud and irregularities in three pilot provinces. Marcos himself recognized this rule when he chose the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental for the initial recount.
“Clearly, the issue on whether the above-captioned Election Protest can proceed will hinge on whether protestant Marcos was able to show substantial recovery in his pilot provinces,” the manifestation read.
Robredo’s lawyers also noted that this rule is “not unique” in the PET, since the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, and the Commission on Elections observe the same in dealing with protests.
Macalintal further said that setting aside Rule 65 is a “form of discrimination” against the Vice President.
“For the PET to deviate from Rule 65 is a violation of Robredo’s right to due process and equal protection of the law,” Macalintal told reporters after the filing. “It will even violate the constitutional mandate that all bona fide candidates should be free from any form of discrimination, because if Rule 65 will not be applied, then there will be a case of discrimination against the Vice President in the application of the rules.”
Robredo’s lawyers earlier filed a motion asking the PET to release the official tally from the recount, to “put to rest any apprehensions” of both parties amid speculations, after member-in-charge Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa submitted his report on the matter to the Tribunal.