Dispatch from Crame No. 933: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Continuing Saga of the VP Election Protest


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It should have been over a long time ago.

As soon as the results came out on the revision of the pilot precincts in provinces chosen by Marcos himself, the election protest of Bongbong Marcos against VP Leni Robredo should have been automatically dismissed in accordance with the COMELEC and PET Rules on the effect of non-recovery of votes in pilot precincts. Non-recovery simply means that Marcos failed to demonstrate that he actually won the 2016 Vice Presidential election when he was not able to recover more additional votes than VP Robredo during the revision of ballots. In fact, Robredo recovered more votes than Marcos. Around fifteen thousand more.

This can only mean that Marcos is squarely a loser, like his father was in the 1969 elections, if only he did not cheat big time. Well, like father like son.

But instead of dismissing his election protest, the PET continues to encourage Marcos’s pipe dreams of sleeping once again in his childhood bedroom in Malacañang when the Supreme Court justices decided to entertain another cause of action that is not even covered by an election protest – the wholesale nullification of elections in certain provinces of Mindanao.

This is unprecedented. In election law, there is no cause of action for nullification of elections independent of a declaration of a failure of elections. This is because the latter always entails the holding of special elections. No one, but no one, can simply ask for the absolute nullification of election results without the concomitant holding of special elections. To do otherwise, i.e., nullify election results without special elections, means the disenfranchisement of entire voting populations. In this case, that means the voting population of three Mindanao provinces.

This is hornbook election law doctrine. Decades of jurisprudence since the turn of the 20th century has consistently held that no court can throw away election results and declare a protestant the winner without replacing the nullified election results with valid returns from a new special election held for that purpose.

It is therefore quite mystifying why the Court, now already filled with Arroyo and Duterte appointees, would depart from decades of settled jurisprudence and entertain a purely question of law that is not even novel in any manner whatsoever. Why would they even ask the COMELEC and the OSG to comment on a question of law that the Supreme Court itself has already settled in countless cases?

Bakit ngayon ay biglang nagmumuni-muni ang Korte Suprema kung pwede bang itapon ang mga balota sa tatlong probinsya ng Mindanao nang hindi nagdaraos ng kapalit na special elections, at iproklama na lang basta-basta ang talunan na si Marcos? Huwag naman sana na yan ang balak nila.

The nullification of elections is not even the office of an election protest. It is the consequence of a declaration of a failure of elections, which is an entirely different cause of action from an election protest. In short, the PET does not even have original jurisdiction over failure of elections as a Special Action in election law. Only the COMELEC has. Marcos cannot raise this with the PET. He should have raised it with the COMELEC in 2016, not with the Duterte COMELEC now of 2020, and definitely not with the PET.

Huwag naman sana nilang palitan ang deka-dekadang doktrina ng batas para lamang masunod ang kapritso ng iilang nasa kapangyarihan.


Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 933, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._933

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