SC to hold preliminary conference on July 11

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(File photos) Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (L), Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (R)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 10) — The Supreme Court is set to hold a preliminary conference Tuesday on the vice-presidential poll protests of former Senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo, representatives from the two camps said.

Marcos, who filed the protest, joined an overnight vigil late Monday with his supporters outside the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Robredo's camp said they are ready to face the high court, which is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. They said Marcos is only prolonging his protest as he has yet to prove that the integrity of the automated elections was compromised before he can demand for ballot recounts and examination of election documents.

"We are ready and confident to prove during the preliminary conference that Marcos' protest should be dismissed since his preliminary conference brief contains the same allegations in his protest where he is clearly and merely fishing for evidence," said Robredo's lead legal counsel, Atty. Romulo Macalintal in a statement.

Both camps have filed preliminary conference briefs on June 16, detailing their defense based on documents and evidence.

Marcos had identified three provinces "best exemplifying fraud or irregularities" in his protest brief, namely Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental. Marcos claimed this will explain how Robredo won the polls with a 263,473 vote lead.

On the other hand, Robredo also listed three provinces in her own counter-protest brief: Capiz, Sulu, and North Cotabato. Her camp said Marcos' protest is based on general allegations and manufactured evidence designed to sway the results in his favor.

Read more: VP Robredo, Marcos submit preliminary conference briefs

Marcos previously criticized Robredo for allegedly blocking moves to recount the results of the vice presidential race in almost 40,000 clustered precincts through the filing of various motions.

"Nagtataka ako sa lahat ng nagiging motion ng aking katunggali na imbis na bilisan—kasi kung naniniwala talaga sila na walang problema, kung talagang tama yung bilang ng boto, eh di bilangin na natin. Ba't nila hinaharang?" Marcos said in an interview.

[Translation: I'm wondering that the motions filed by my opponent, instead of expediting the process--if they really believe that there is no issue, if the vote count was right, let's recount it. Why are they blocking the recounts?]

Robredo's camp recently filed a manifestation with motion for clarification before the PET saying Marcos should pay for the expenses that will be incurred by the Commission on Elections over his election protest.

According to Robredo's lawyer, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, Marcos' request to conduct forensic and technical examinations over the 97,365 vote-counting machines would amount to P2.08 billion pesos.

Marcos said he's hopeful the poll protest will be resolved late this year or early 2018.

The PET has created a three-man panel of commissioners to expedite the resolution of the protest and counter-protest. Justice Jose Vitug was appointed Chairperson, while Angelito Imperio and Irene Ragodon-Guevarra were appointed as commissioners.

The preliminary conference was initially set for June 21, but this was moved to July 11 to give way to the martial law petitions.

Read more: PET resets date for BBM-Robredo poll protest preliminary conference