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                                                                                                                                         Refer to:  Ms. Ronadale Zapata



13 June 2006

    Vice-President Noli De Castro asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to make a partial determination of the validity of Loren Legarda's election protest based on the results of the revision of ballots from the Province of Cebu and recanvass of election returns from the Province of Lanao del Sur "to expedite the resolution of the said protest".

      Through lawyers Romulo Macalintal, Alberto Agra and Armando Marcelo of the AMPGP Law offices, De Castro alleged that the bulk of his 800,000 vote-lead came from Cebu Province and that as of June 9, the revision of ballots from this province is 97% complete and is expected to be terminated anytime this week.

       In his motion, De Castro showed that his vote-lead over Legarda has not been materially affected although Legarda objected to almost 90% of De Castro ballots.

       De Castro's lawyers explained that by such partial determination which is allowed under the PET rules, it could "avoid the presentation of voluminous documents in one tranche and the examination of millions of contested ballots which the PET could not otherwise decide or act upon in one sitting."

De Castro's lawyers proposed a preliminary hearing where the parties could submit all their evidence for Cebu and the recanvass returns of Lanao Del Sur and thereafter to show cause why the protest should be or should not be allowed to continue.

       De Castro’s lawyers pointed out that the Province of Cebu has a total of 7.744 precincts and has more than one million ballots used in the May 2004 polls. Since every precinct was revised, a total of 7,744 revision reports had been prepared, each report consisting of seven (7) pages, or a total of 54,208 pages of revision reports.   With 20 copies required to be filed for each set of revision report, this will mean a total of 1,084,160 pieces of copy papers (54,208 x 20 = 1,084,160) to be submitted by De Castro and Legarda to the PET for the tribunal's examination.

     By such proposal, De Castro's counsels clarified that with more than a million ballots being contested from the Province of Cebu alone and with such number of documentary evidence to be prepared, the PET would be swamped with an overwhelmingly large number of documents, not to mention the same volume of documents and ballots if the PET would wait for the results of the revision for the Provinces of Pampanga and Maguindanao which are part of Legarda's pilot protested provinces.

       "With this proposal, we are confident that the resolution of this election protest could be expedited. The parties would not be pressed for time in photocopying and presenting their respective voluminous evidence.  The submission of a great volume of evidence from other provinces would be avoided and the parties could save from expenses for photocopying of these documents and from the daily salaries and allowances of revisors", Macalintal and Agra said.

Ref no. VPMEDIA 06-066

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