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On Mindanao ballots: PET seeks Comelec comment on Marcos protest

The Supreme Court (SC), acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has ordered both the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment on the electoral protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

SC Spokesperson Brian Hosaka on Wednesday (Sept. 30) said that the PET on Tuesday (Sept. 29) has issued a resolution which directed the Comelec to comment “on certain issues related to the 3rd cause of action of the election protest, in particular the annulment of elections on the ground of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters, and pre-shading of ballots in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.”

Hosaka said the Comelec was also directed to report of special elections, if any, in the provinces Lanao, Basilan and Maguindanao concerning failure of elections in 2016.

Aside from this, the spokesman said the Comelec and the Office of the Solicitor General were also asked to comment on whether the PET is “empowered by the Constitution to declare: a.) the annulment of elections without special elections; and b.) the failure of elections and order the conduct of special elections.”

If it declares a failure of elections and order special elections, the PET asked for comment if the declaration will “infringe upon the Comelec’s mandate and power provided for in Article IX (C) (Sec. 2) of the Constitution.”

Hosaka said the Comelec and OSG were told to file their comments “within a non-extendible period of twenty days.”

Once the Comelec and OSG submit their comments, the spokesman said Marcos and Robredo will be “directed to submit their replies within a non-extendible period of fifteen days from their receipt of the comments of the Comelec and OSG.”

Marcos filed the election protest as he expressed belief that he got cheated from winning in the 2016 vice presidential race.