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PET should not be abolished, says SolGen

April 20, 2010

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Government lawyers on Tuesday maintained that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) should not be abolished.

In its comment, the Office of the Solicitor-General told the high court that the existence of PET is “a necessary incident to the power granted, by no less than the Constitution, to the Supreme Court to be the sole judge of all contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the President or Vice-President.”

Solicitor-General Alberto Agra Agra, who is also the acting justice secretary, said the issues raised by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal had already been resolved by the high tribunal.

Macalintal, in his petition said the creation of the PET is a violation of Art. 7 Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution which provides that “the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.”

He pointed that the Supreme Court cannot act as a quasi-judicial body with a separate budget, employees and a different seal.

But Agra argued that the Supreme Court in the case of “Lopez v. Roxas,” said “the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is not inferior to the Supreme Court, since it is the same court, although the functions peculiar to said tribunal are more limited in scope than those of the Supreme Court in the exercise of its ordinary functions.”

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