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Dec 03rd
Home Sections Politics Senate Electoral Tribunal Urged to Dismiss Zubiri’s Counter-Protest
Senate Electoral Tribunal Urged to Dismiss Zubiri’s Counter-Protest PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Sunday, 06 July 2008 06:50

Lawyer Aquilino (Koko) Pimentel III, opposition senatorial contender in the 2007 elections, has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to dismiss the counter-protest filed by administration Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri on the ground that this is a “sham” meant only to delay the resolution of the legitimate election protest.

He said Mr. Zubiri has not cited any cause of action against him as the counter-protest “contains only bare, unsubstantiated, illogical and general allegation of fraud and irregularities.”


In a 14-page motion with the SET filed June 25, Atty. Pimentel said Mr. Zubiri’s allegations that fraud was committed against him in 73,266 precincts cutting across 10 provinces and 17 cities covered by his counter-protest, are “self-serving, speculative and completely unfounded, as they are without factual anchor.”


“By counter-protesting the election results in one-third of the country, it is obvious that Mr. Zubiri, the one enjoying the contested office, is involved in a delay the-protest strategy! Which strategy speaks volumes on the lack of substance, integrity and credibility of his counter-protest. The massive scope of the counter-protest even smacks of bad faith,” he said.


The young Pimentel filed the dismissal motion after the nine-man SET on June 17 ruled that there was “valid cause of action” for his protest involving 2,658 precincts in 44 municipalities in seven provinces in Mindanao, including Maguindanao.

After the completion of the recount of contested votes in 664 precincts in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte and Sulu, equivalent to 25 percent of all the precincts covered by his protest, the tribunal has established that in six of the nine pilot municipalities in Maguinadanao and Lanao del Norte, 98.15 percent of the ballots cast were found to be “spurious.”


On the basis of these findings, the SET held that there is “prima facie merit” in Atty. Pimentel’s protest and ordered that the proceedings should continue in the remaining 75 percent of the contested areas.


Covered by the counter-protest are cities of Makati, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Malabon, Las Piñas, Pasay, Quezon, San Juan, Muntinlupa, Caloocan and Pateros, which are all in Metro Manila, all municipalities in Batangas, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, Cavite, Laguna, Palawan, Nueva Ecija and Quezon, Bogo City (in Cebu) and Zamboanga City.


Atty. Pimentel also discovered that Zubiri’s “additional grounds in support of allegations of fraud” are mere restatements of and almost identical word-for-word with the general allegation of fraud made by the same counsel in the cases of Lilia Pineda v. Eddie Panlilio (Pampanga governor) pending before the second division of the Commission on Elections and of Librada Cabrera v. Michael Montenegro pending before the Regional Trial Court in Taal, Batangas.


“Standardized grounds for a protest or a counter-protest appearing time and again in numerous protest or counter-protest petitions are therefore bogus grounds which will not legitimize a sham protest or counter-protest. Simply put, the protestee in this instant protest has made general, pro-forma, shot-gun, templated allegations merely to make it appear on paper that protestee has a case,” Atty. Pimentel said. # # #

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Last Updated on Sunday, 06 July 2008 07:32

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