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Bongbong Marcos wants poll protest to proceed to reception of evidence
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Bongbong Marcos wants poll protest to proceed to reception of evidence

August 14 ------ Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. has asked the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to order the conduct of a preliminary conference for the reception of evidence in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. In an "extremely urgent" motion, Marcos' lawyer, George Garcia, said the reception of evidence should proceed in accordance with the 2010 PET rules, months after what he said was the termination of the manual recount of votes from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Rule 56, titled "preliminary conference," provides that the Hearing Commissioner shall fix a date for the reception of evidence and submission of the affidavits of the witnesses of the parties in the case. Rule 55 states that the Hearing Commissioner is a lawyer to whom the tribunal may delegate the task of receiving evidence. According to the Marcos motion, retired Justice Jose Vitug is the chairperson and lawyers Angelito Imperio and Irene Ragodon-Guevarra are the members of the Hearing Commissioners in this case.

The motion claims that the Hearing Commissioners have not set the preliminary conference "despite the lapse of more than five months since the termination of the revision proceedings for the pilot provinces in this election protest." "Public interest demands that this electoral controversy be resolved with dispatch to determine once and for all the genuine choice of the electorate for the contested position," the filing states.

Vic Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesman, said the motion is significant because the submission of evidence will lead to the whole case being elevated to the PET en banc, which he said will determine whether or not the Marcos camp has "sufficiently" established its case. Marcos is contesting Robredo's victory in the 2016 elections, where the latter defeated the former president's son by 263,473 votes. Robredo's term will end in 2022. The results of the revision proceedings will determine whether or not Marcos' protest will proceed with the rest of his contested clustered voting precincts.

Source: gmanetwork.com