By: Elena Grace Flores
The law says; “It must also be stressed that under the Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, an election protest may be summarily dismissed, regardless of the public policy and public interest implications thereof, on the following grounds: (1) The petition is insufficient in form and substance; (2) The petition is filed beyond the periods provided in Rules 14 and 15 hereof; (3) The filing fee is not paid within the periods provided for in these Rules; (4) The cash deposit, or the first P 100,000.00 thereof, is not paid within 10 days after the filing of the protest; and (5) The petition or copies thereof and the annexes thereto filed with the Tribunal are not clearly legible. Other grounds for a motion to dismiss, e.g., those provided in the Rules of Court which apply in a suppletory character, may likewise be pleaded as affirmative defenses in the answer. After which, the Tribunal may, in its discretion, hold a preliminary hearing on such grounds. In sum, if an election be dismissed on technical grounds, then it must be, for a decidedly stronger reason, if it has become moot due to its abandonment by the Protestant.”
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s determination to pursue his election protest cannot be hindered by a possible cabinet post under the Duterte administration – but experts are debating that he can lose it through technical reasons as observed in past cases. Marcos lawyer George Garcia reiterated. “As far as appointment is concerned, the question is whether that should be construed as abandonment of the protest. There is no jurisprudence on this”. That can be true – but the law also added that strong technical grounds can indeed dismiss electoral protest.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s case may be different because she took up an elected post and not an appointive one when the Supreme Court ruled that she had deliberately dismissed her election protest against Fidel Ramos who won the presidency in 1992. The high court justified that Santiago ran and won an elective post thus disregarding her earlier protest. Marcos’s taking up an appointive post is surely different from that of Santiago’s – but good reasoning can always raise up technicalities that can reverse the judges’ decission.