HRET junks electoral protest vs Marinduque lawmaker
In a decision released to media on Friday, the tribunal dismissed the election protest filed by losing congressional bet Edmundo Reyes II, who contested Velasco's victory.
The tribunal said Reyes was unable to prove he was cheated of victory and that he relied only on the certificates of canvass and the statement of votes to claim he is the rightful winner.
"There was no testimony from any member of the Board of Election Inspectors of the clustered precincts nor from any watcher or voter to prop up the claim of fraud and irregularities," the tribunal said.
The HRET's recount of votes cast in Marinduque's pilot precincts also showed that Velasco won by 4,146 votes — 39 votes higher than what was counted last year.
Under its rules, the tribunal can dismiss a poll protest if there is no reasonable number of votes favoring the protestant — in this case, Reyes — recovered from the pilot precincts.
In its decision, the HRET said Reyes failed to show ballot irregularities and discrepancies that would alter the official results of the congressional race.
Libel case vs journalist
Velasco is the son of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., who recently scored a legal victory against veteran journalist Marites Vitug.
Recently, the Manila City Prosecutor's Office approved the filing of libel charges against Vitug, who wrote an article that supposedly maligned the magistrate's name.
The story explored how Velasco allegedly peddled his influence over local officials in Marinduque to support his son's congressional bid.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 39 is handling the libel suit against Vitug. — Sophia Dedace/RSJ, GMA News