Letter to the Editor: Bongbong Marcos camp reacts to article on Comelec comment on poll protest

Atty. Victor D. Rodriguez

Posted at Nov 11 2020 03:35 PM

Attention: Ma. Regina E. Reyes
Head, Integrated News and Current Affairs

Re : Published article dated 4 November 2020 "Failure of elections petitions in 3 Mindanao provinces Marcos is contesting were junked - Comelec."

Dear Ms. Reyes :

We are writing in response to the above captioned article which was published in your website on 4 November 2020.

The opening paragraph of the article stated that, "The Commission on Elections has said all pleas to declare failure of elections in three Mindanao provinces that defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is contesting have been dismissed." 

In addition, the entire article focused on the COMELEC's report regarding the dismissed petitions for failure of elections in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

We would like to clarify that quoted paragraph is but a portion of the 30-page Comment that the COMELEC submitted to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal [PET] on 3 November 2020. The petitions stated in the said report involve local positions and have nothing to do with national elections. By comparing former Senator Marcos’ Vice-Presidential electoral protest with a local position, the article implied that the poll body was leaning towards dismissing Marcos’s protest.

There are several issues raised in the COMELEC's Comment which need to be discussed in order for your readers to have a better understanding of the issues at hand.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has been consistent in explaining the difference between “failure of elections” and “annulment of votes”. 

"Failure of elections" occurs when no election takes place in an area or, if there was one, there was a failure to elect a certain candidate. It is the COMELEC who has jurisdiction over these cases. 
 “Annulment of votes” occurs when there is massive cheating and electoral fraud. It is the Courts who have jurisdiction over these cases. 

In his electoral protest, Marcos is seeking the annulment of votes for Vice-President in three provinces: Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. Nullification does not require the declaration of failure of elections nor the calling of special elections.

Under current jurisprudence, the PET can annul the election results if it can be shown that 51% of the votes obtained are fraudulent, as is the case in these provinces. If annulled, the results from these provinces will be excluded from the national tally. Stated otherwise, the 2016 VP race will be based on the current national tally minus the results from these three provinces.

The petition, if granted, will give Marcos a lead in the national tally. 

We are aware of the significance of this case to all Filipinos and are ready to take concrete actions to prevent the spread of misinformation to the public. 

In the interest of fair play, we trust that you will publish this letter to provide the public with a more nuanced understanding of this divisive national issue.

Thank you for your attention on this matter.

Very truly yours,
 
ATTY. VICTOR D. RODRIGUEZ
Spokesperson
Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

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