Two of the country’s top election lawyers, previously pitted against each other during the PGMA - FPJ election case, will be having a rematch - another electoral face off - this time over a tight vice presidential race.
Sixto Brillantes, the Commission on Election’s former chairman, will be part of the canvassing team for Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is a close second in the VP race.
Brillantes has emerged from his one-year hiatus from taking in election cases, after retiring from the poll body earlier last 2015.
(Photo credit: politics.com.ph)
Opposing him from the other side is Romulo Macalintal, representing the race’s frontrunner, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
Brillantes and Macalintal faced off in 2004 during a close presidential race between former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, represented by Macalintal, and actor Fernando Poe Jr., represented by Brillantes.
That year’s elections won Arroyo her second term – a highly contested victory because of Poe’s popularity. However, the results of the elections came under public scrutiny when a recording featuring Arroyo telephoning Comelec official Virgilio Garcellano about the results was uncovered.
It seems that for this present case, Brillantes and Macalintal have already found common ground. They agree that the recent issue over a script introduced by automation service provided Smartmatic has been blown out of proportion.
"Kung nagkaroon naman ng pagbabago sa hash code... Bottom line naman diyan, 'yung pagbabago ba ng hash code, nabago ba ang resulta in favor or against a candidate? Kung hindi nabago ang resulta, walang problema diyan. It's just a matter of procedure," Macalintal said Thursday.
(If a new hash code was released, the bottom line there is, does the change in hashcode produce different results in favor or against a candidate? If the results remain unchanged, then there is no problem there. It’s just a matter of procedure.)
Macalintal added that it must be filed before the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, which will hold a canvassing for president and vice president.
Brillantes, for his part, said that the tweak – inserted to correct the ‘?’ into “ῆ” – was no cause of alarm, adding that he has already talked to Marcos about it.
"Sabi ko nga, hindi naman dapat. In fact, I just talked to him yesterday. Sabi ko sa kaniya, 'wag na kayong maingay. Talaga namang minor lang 'yun," the former poll chief told reporters Friday.
(I told him it shouldn’t have been. In fact, I just talked to him yesterday. I told him not to make a fuss anymore. It’s really just a minor issue.)