Marcos bid to have 3 hearing officers named for poll protest premature – Robredo lawyer

May 17, 2017 - 3:03 PM
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Leni Robredo at SC counter-poll protest
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal (standing) accompanies Vice President Leni Robredo to the Supreme Court in this May 2, 2017 file photo. HANDOUT PHOTO FROM OVP
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MANILA – The motion of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’s camp for the Supreme Court to designate three hearing officers in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo was premature and could complicate the proceedings, her lawyer Romulo Macalintal warned.

“This is very premature. We have not yet even held our preliminary conference where the issues to be resolved by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal will be defined. And now, Marcos is again preempting the action of the PET on this matter,” Macalintal said in a statement.

“We are not even sure whether the three causes of action raised by Marcos in his protest would be sustained by the PET,” he added.

The Supreme Court sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal handling election protests involving the positions of president and vice president.

Marcos earlier asked for the designation of at least three officers to help in the preliminary conference, saying this would “better facilitate an orderly, simplified and expeditious disposition of this electoral contest considering that there are three causes of action raised in this election protest.”

The preliminary conference was set on June 21 at 2 p.m.

According to Macalintal, without the preliminary conference, Marcos’ motion appears intended only to “condition the minds of the people, if not those of the members of the PET,” on the pending case.

He also said it would be impractical to have three officers hear the three causes of action.

“There is only one lead lawyer for the protestant and the protestee. Surely, the lead lawyer has to be present in every stage of the hearing and cannot be in three places at the same time,” Macalintal said.

“And these issues are all interconnected. It is improper for three hearing officers to resolve the said issues separately,” he added.