Tribunal finds basis to proceed with Koko 2007 elections protest
By LYNDA JUMILLA
The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) has decided to proceed with the election protest of Genuine Opposition senatorial candidate Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III after finding reasonable ground to believe that the final outcome of the case could unseat 2007 elections 12th placer Sen. Miguel Zubiri.
In a resolution signed by all nine members, the SET took note of the results of initial revision and appreciation of ballots in 25 percent of the contested results which showed that "the May 14 2007 election in certain designated pilot areas was characterized by proven irregularities."
The SET is composed of Supreme Court justices Leonardo Quisumbing, who is the chairman, Antonio Carpio and Renato Corona; and Senators Edgardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Panfilo Lacson, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Escudero and Benigno Aquino III.
In the pilot areas which covered Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Norte and Sulu, the tribunal reportedly found spurious and/or fake ballots among other anomalies.
Earlier, Koko's father Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. told media that after the initial revision, Koko was found to have overturned Zubiri's lead and even led his rival by 17,251 votes.
"Indeed, there is reasonable ground to believe that the final outcome of the case could affect the officially proclaimed results of the 12th senatorial position in the 14 May 2007 national elections," the tribunal said. "hence, the election protest case deserves further proceedings by the tribunal."
The tribunal called the parties to a conference to discuss submission of evidence in the remaining 75 percent of the protested areas.