MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) issued a show cause order against the camps of Vice President Leni Robredo and her rival, ex-senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, for their continued disclosure of "sensitive information" on the vice presidential electoral protest.
The SC, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), wants both camps to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for ignoring the High Court's reminder to observe the sub judice rule.
The Robredo and Marcos camps have 10 days after Thursday, April 12, to submit their explanation to the PET.
The sub judice rule prohibits parties in a case and their lawyers from making comments and disclosures concerning ongoing judicial proceedings to avoid preempting the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice.
The parties to the electoral protest have not been observing this rule since Marcos filed the electoral protest against the Vice President two years ago.
Both camps have held various press conferences and granted interviews, where they shared information about the election case to the public. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
From the end of January until early February, the Marcos and Robredo camps even traded barbs in various media interviews, accusing each other of filing motions to allegedly delay the ballot recount process.
This prompted the SC to issue two resolutions – the first on February 13 and the second on March 20 – reminding them to observe the sub judice rule. (READ: SC reminds Robredo, Marcos not to comment on VP protest)
But the PET said the Marcos and Robredo camps continued to disclose details about the case despite these "stern directives."
"Despite these stern directives from the Tribunal, several news reports have shown that the parties, their counsels and/or representatives, have nonetheless continued to disclose sensitive information regarding the revision process to the public, in clear violation of the aforementioned resolutions," said the PET.
The PET added that both camps' public statements documented in news reports "are within the clear ambit of the sub judice rule."
"In this regard, to preserve the sanctity of the proceedings, both parties are hereby directed to show cause and explain why they should not be cited in contempt by the Tribunal," said the PET.
The ballot recount for the electoral protest had begun on April 2. Ballots from Robredo's home province Camarines Sur are the first to be recounted.
On Thursday, the PET also denied Robredo's motion to set the minimum threshold percentage for determining valid votes at 25%. This means only ovals with at least 50% shade in the ballots would be counted as a legitimate vote.
Read a full copy of the PET's April 12 resolution below: