By Raymund Antonio
In the election protest she is facing, Vice President Leni Robredo appears to have gained the upper-hand again.
This, after the Supreme Court denied the appeal of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reconsider its earlier ruling on the technical examination of ballots in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
The SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, upheld its decision on August 29 that “no technical examination” can be conducted from the three Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) provinces.
The PET ruling was dated November 7, but Robredo’s lawyers only released a copy of the notice from the court about the resolution on Tuesday.
“Deny, for lack of merit, the partial motion for reconsideration (of the resolution dated Aug. 29, 2017), dated Sept. 15, 2017 filed by counsel for protestant Marcos Jr.,” the document read.
“Thus, the Tribunal’s resolution dated Aug. 29, 2017 to defer action on protestant’s motion for technical examination stands given the reasons stated therein,” it added.
As his third cause of action, Marcos sought for the technical and forensic examination of all ballots from Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur. These are the provinces where he wants votes nullified due to alleged election fraud.
But the PET deferred action on his request in its Aug. 29 decision.
The lawyers of Robredo opposed Marcos’ motion, noting that it will violate the PET strict rule that only three provinces could be designated as pilot provinces.
They were referring to the Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental, which Marcos identified where initial recounting of votes will be held to determine if his protest has merit.
With the denial of his appeal for technical examination, Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Marcos has to content himself with the results of the recount of ballots from these three pilot provinces.
“We are highly confident that after such recount the PET will have all the valid grounds and reasons to dismiss Marcos’ protest,” said Macalintal.
“For in the hundreds of election protest cases filed involving the 2010, 2013 and the 2016 automated elections, not a single election protest has been won by any protestant on the basis of a recount of the ballots,” he added.