Martial Law victims wary of SC inaction on Marcos poll protest

“Despite the fact that the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has already finished recounting the ballots of 5,415 precincts of the 3 pilot provinces (Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur), the Supreme Court en banc still has not made any action,” said the Campaign Against the Return of Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), a group of Martial Law victims, in a statement on October 8.

Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa submitted his report on the result of the recount in pilot provinces in the vice presidential poll protest on September 10. Ballot recount commenced on March 19, 2018, starting with the province of Camarines Sur.

The SC en banc is expected to vote on member-in-charge Caguioa’s report last week Tuesday, when en banc sessions were held or the Tuesdays after Caguioa submitted his report, but also did not make a vote today.

“This inaction of the SC makes us wary. CARMMA is a witness to how the Marcoses subverted our democratic institutions to maintain their stranglehold on the government, entrenched themselves in Malacanang, while emptying our nation’s coffers,” said CARMMA.

On June 29, 2016, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. protested the voting results in 22 provinces and five highly-urbanized cities involving about 39,000 clustered precincts. Leni Robredo won the vice presidency in the May 2016 elections and was sworn in a day after Marcos, Jr. filed his protest.

Rule 65 of the 2010 PET rules states that after examination of the pilot provinces, the tribunal will decide whether to dismiss the protest at this level and validate Robredo’s victory or decide on further recount.

If  there is no substantial recovery in the pilot provinces, “the protest may forthwith be dismissed, without further consideration of the other provinces mentioned in the protest.”

Marcos chose the three pilot provinces, which included Robredo’s hometown Camarines Sur.

The SC earlier ruled that the results of the vote recount in the three pilot provinces would determine if the second cause or the rest of Marcos’ electoral protest has merit. Marcos also moved to nullify votes in Lanao Del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao, and filed for immediate action on his second cause in December 2018 and March 2019, but the SC deferred recount or investigation in these areas until the recount in the three pilot provinces are done.

“We are very aware of the Marcoses intent – a complete return to the highest seat of power, and their complete rehabilitation. They want the Marcos electoral protest to be their gold-lined path towards a comeback,” said CARMMA, also calling the Marcoses ‘scheming’ and ‘shameless.’

The group also assailed the former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ evasion of jail time.

“We are also witness to how the present administration has not jailed Imelda Marcos in spite of her November 2018 conviction in seven counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during the Marcos dictatorship,” said CARMMA.

Imelda Marcos was allowed to post bail.

The PET is expected to vote on Tuesday, October 15, as this is the last en banc session before the SC takes a break. Court deliberations will continue on November 4.

 

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