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Now Reading: ‘SCARY PROSPECT’ | Ex-Comelec execs weigh in on BBM’s move to nullify votes from 3 provinces
‘SCARY PROSPECT’ | Ex-Comelec execs weigh in on BBM’s move to nullify votes from 3 provinces
October 18, 2019 , 12:25 AM

(OCTOBER 17, 2019) — Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said former senator Bongbong Marcos should file a petition to the poll body, instead of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), regarding his camp’s move to declare a failure of elections in three areas in Mindanao.

Larrazabal seconded retired Supreme Court chief justice Artemio Panganiban, who came out with a column saying failure of elections declarations is not under PET rules. Larrazabal said it is too late for Marcos’ camp to file such petition, which should have been done within 30 days after the election.

“It’s too late. The general rule is you file it within 30 days after the election was conducted,” Larrazabal said in a phone interview with News5. “In certain circumstances you can file it even after if the threat, intimidation, and violence have not yet ceased,” Larrazabal said.

Even if the PET affirms Marcos’ petition, he will not be automatically declared the winner because a special elections is needed, according to Larrazabal.

Marcos’ is seeking the nullification of election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao. This was after Marcos lost in the initial recount conducted in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

If the PET sides with Marcos, his vote count will increase by approximately 45,000 votes more than Vice President Leni Robredo.

Larrazabal warned of possible ill effects of this to future elections in the country, because a person can simply file a protest case instead of filing for failure of elections to the Comelec.

“Instead of individually evaluate each ballot, you ‘wholesale’ nullify the results of a particular precinct, barangay, city, municipality, or province, and that’s very scary,” he said.

Meanwhile, ex-Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said there is no need for a special elections, because there is a difference between annulment of elections and annulment of votes.

“‘Yung annulment of votes is not necessarily failure of elections. Therefore, pag nag-annul ka ng boto o ballots hindi na kailangan ng special elections,” Brillantes said in a phone interview.

However, the former chairman said Marcos should have gone to that path instead of the recount. He said three years had passed and nullification of ballots require a long process.

Marcos’ lawyer, Vic Rodriguez, clarified that the protester’s camp was not seeking a declaration of failure of election, but rather the annulment of the election results in the three aforementioned provinces.

“We never seek for a declaration of failure of election. No way. Never,” Rodriguez said. “Klaro po ‘yun na ang hinihingi namin as our originally second cause of action ay ‘yung annulment of the election results in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao,” he added.

The PET deferred anew on releasing its decision on Marcos’ protest that has spanned three years. Instead, it required both camps to comment on the initial recount report, and submit memoranda on jurisdiction issues and on Marcos’ motion to nullify votes in the three then-ARMM provinces. (Randell Ritumalta/JMF)

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