Updated 15:56 PM PHT Thu, February 16, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Supreme Court's Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) denied the petition of Vice President Leni Robredo to junk the poll protest of her campaign rival Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
The PET, in an eight-page resolution dated January 24, 2017 and released on Thursday, considered Marcos's protest as "sufficient in form and substance."
"The protestee's prayer to dismiss the protest for lack of jurisdiction and for being insufficient in form and substance is denied," the PET said in the resolution, referring to Robredo's move for the protest to be dismissed.
The Marcos camp on June 29, 2016 filed an electoral protest to overturn Robredo's victory in the May 2016 elections. He contested the election results from 39,000 precincts from 25 provinces and five cities.
Marcos contested the 263,473 lead Robredo held, claiming the Smartmatic vote-counting machines used for the automated polls lacked "demonstrated capability" and were used to transfer votes from him to Robredo.
"On the matter of sufficiency of the protest, the same is already beyond dispute," the resolution said.
But the electoral tribunal also maintained that the allegations in Marcos' protest have yet to be proven.
Marcos welcomes PET resolution
The camp of Marcos welcomed on Thursday the affirmation of the PET.
"We are hoping that with this resolution, there will be an end to all these delays and we can finally move forward," the legal spokesperson of former senator Marcos, Victor Rodriguez, said in a statement.
"There is a need to ferret out the truth as to what really transpired during the vice presidential race last May," he added.
Robredo: Junking of VP's petition not an indication of poll fraud
Robredo's legal counsel downplayed the PET resolution, stating it was merely a procedural issue.
"It only means that the PET will proceed with the case. It does not in any way reflect the validity or merits of any allegation of fraud or irregularity contesting the proclamation of Vice President Leni Robredo," Atty. Romulo Macalintal said in a statement on Thursday.
He added that the PET was giving Marcos an opportunity to prove his case.
Macalintal also said he expects the case to go through the process of recounting the ballots.
Legal maneuvers to junk Marcos protest
Robredo's affidavit on August 2, 2016 argued that the problem between the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic should not be taken against her.
Her legal counsel Bernadette Sardillo asserted that an election protest is a contest between two candidates. The Vice President also described Marcos' allegations of cheating and vote-buying as a "series of wild accusations, guesses, and surmises."
But the PET opposed this.
The tribunal however ruled that Robredo's counter-protest was filed in a timely manner, even if it was filed on August 15, 2016, three days after the deadline. Marcos had sought to set aside Robredo's counter-protest for it being filed late.