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Outgoing Supreme Court (SC) Justice Antonio Carpio believes the high court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), should no longer act on the third cause of action in the election protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. which is the nullification of the 2016 vice presidential election results in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.

In his dissenting opinion, Carpio reminded the PET has already acted on the second cause of action of Marcos and conducted a recount in the pilot provinces he selected himself, namely, Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental .

Carpio cited that under Rule 65 of the PET Rules “[t]he Tribunal may require the protestant or counter-protestant to indicate within, a fixed period, the province or provinces numbering not more than three, best exemplifying the frauds or irregularities alleged in his petition; and the revision of ballots and reception of evidence will begin with such provinces.”

“To exclude from the pilot provinces those provinces subject to an annulment case will allow the protestant to exceed the maximum number of pilot provinces prescribed in the Rules,”read his dissent.

“Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules expressly requires protestant to name ‘not more than three’ provinces that best exemplify the frauds and irregularities alleged in the protest. The Tribunal will be violating its own Rules if it allows a revision and recount of ballots in other provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), beyond the maximum three provinces chosen by protestant,” he warned.

Carpio pointed out acting on the third cause of action would “change the rules of the PET in the middle of the proceedings just to accommodate protestant after he has failed to show a substantial recovery in the three pilot provinces he himself chose.”

“The last thing that this Tribunal should do is to change its rules in midstream to accommodate a party who has failed to comply with what Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules expressly requires,” he stressed.

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