People should respect PET decision on Marcos vs Robredo -- Panelo

The rule of law has prevailed and the public must abide the Supreme Court decision rejecting the poll protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “ "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo

According to Panelo, the people, including the losing party, should respect the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

"The fact of unanimity of decision by the PET appears to validate VP Robredo’s win on the basis of law and of the evidence presented before it by both parties," Panelo said in a statement Tuesday, Feb. 16.

"Perforce, rule of law has prevailed. Due process was evidently observed with both parties having been given the opportunity to present their respective cases... The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has spoken. It behooves everyone to abide by it. And so we must," he said.

The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the election protest filed by Marcos against Robredo back in June 2016. No reason was yet reported for the junking of the protest case.

Marcos earlier cited three causes of action in the protest case, namely the annulment of Robredo's proclamation, recount of ballots in certain areas; and annulment of poll results in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan over alleged terrorism, alleged harassment of voters, and pre-shading of ballots. The former senator lost to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential elections.

Panelo noted that the people must also abide by the "precepts of democracy" especially during elections. He said supporters of the losing party as well as those who voted for the losing candidate  must accept the verdict regardless if it is unacceptable to them. "That is the rule of the majority," he added.

Panelo also urged people not to be blinded by the personal biases for a candidate. "That is how democracy works. The minority must submit and concede to the majority," he said.

Besides, Panelo said there would always be the next elections to win over the support of the people.

"There is always another election to vindicate one’s loss or validate forever one’s rejection by the voting population," he said.