SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said that it is “best for this tribunal to decline this importuning for a fishing expedition and dismiss the present Protest.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal dismissed the election protest lodged against progressive Kabataan Partylist in a decision dated March 18, 2021.
In a six-page decision furnished to Bulatlat, Supreme Court Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang, the ponente and member of the electoral tribunal, said that You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) Party-List has no legal standing to file the election protest against the youth group, citing the rule limiting the parties who can file an election protest.
According to the rules, an election protest can be filed only by the second and third candidates who obtained the highest number of votes for the contested position. This is mandatory and is meant to prevent the filing of unnecessary and frivolous actions before the Tribunal.
Thus, Kabataan Partylist, which ranked 51 in the last election, can only be contested by those in the 52nd and 53rd rank. YACAP ranked 58.
YACAP filed the electoral protest in July 2019, alleging that there were massive fraud and irregularities in 341 protested poll precincts in General Santos City.
Kabataan Partylist, however, said that the election protest lodged against them were insufficient both in form and substance, describing the affidavits of the witnesses against them as proforma and the identification cards as unreadable.
“It would be contrary to the interest of judicial economy, the credibility of elections, and the general welfare of the sovereign Filipino people for this Tribunal to entertain a continuing cloud over the conduct of the May 13, 2019 election, when the protestant itself appears unsure of specific errors at which to direct its efforts at rectification,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice and chairperson of the electoral tribunal Marvic Leonen in his separate concurring opinion.
Leonen added that it is “best for this tribunal to decline this importuning for a fishing expedition and dismiss the present Protest.”