MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) will “soon” release a report on the initial recount of 3 provinces in the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Very soon we are expecting that the ponente who is Justice (Benjamin) Caguioa will come up with his report,” Bersamin told reporters on Wednesday, September 4.
“He has informed us that his report will be a voluminous report and that is expected because when you have revised ballots coming from at least 3 provinces that were part of a protest, you would expect details of whether this ballot etc are to be part of the counting or not to be part of counting,” he added.
In its latest resolution, the PET decided on 3 things:
- The PET cannot stop the protest now based only on Robredo’s claim of an additional 15,000 votes. The PET said Robredo’s claim is “merely speculative.”
- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has to explain the lack of ballot images in two clustered precincts in Camarines Sur, one of the pilot provinces
- The PET cannot yet investigate voting records in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao – as what Marcos wants – because it has to resolve the 3 pilot provinces first.
The result of the initial recount of ballots from pilot provinces Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental, and Iloilo will be PET’s basis on whether to continue the recount of other ballots.
‘We have to be careful’
Marcos filed the protest after the elections in 2016, but the initial ballot recount only started in April 2018.
Bersamin said this pace was already considered as “fast.”
“[The process is] slow in the public’s perception but ‘yung speed namin kung tutuusin mo ay mabilis. Even if there is a perception na na-dedelay ‘yan we are also doing our share from within,” said Bersamin.
([The process is] slow in the public’s perception but you can consider our pace already fast. Even if there is a perception of delay, we are also doing our share from within.)
Robredo is more than halfway into her vice presidency.
“I know the impatience of the public about this case of the Vice President being protested but we should also be careful of what we do here because the credibility of our processes as well as the political system here is at stake, so dahan-dahan kami (so we are doing things slowly) but we are doing it with sufficient speed,” said Bersamin.
The PET has stood by member-in-charge Caguioa amid Marco’s complaints of alleged partiality to Robredo because of the justice’s links to the Aquino administration.
Caguioa served as presidential legal counsel and then briefly as justice secretary of the administration of then-president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III until he appointed him to the Supreme Court.
The PET has warned Marcos over his “conspiracy theories” against Caguioa and said “any unfounded and inappropriate accusation made in the future will be dealt with more severely.”
“We have to be very careful what to decide here,” said Bersamin. – Rappler.com