Business World - Court completes report on recount of ballots in Marcos election protest

10 September 2019

By Business World

THE SUPREME Court has finished its report on the recount of ballots in three pilot provinces where massive cheating took place, as alleged by losing 2016 vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.

Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa has submitted to the court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal a report on the recount, court spokesman Brian Keith F. Hosaka told reporters yesterday. He declined to comment on the report’s content.

“The tribunal has not taken any action yet on the said report of Justice Caguioa,” he said.

Mr. Marcos has identified 5,415 election precincts in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur, where cheating allegedly occurred in the 2016 elections.

Mr. Marcos lost the race by a hair to Maria Leonor G. Robredo, who is now halfway through her term.

Mr. Hosaka reminded the parties to avoid issuing statements to the media regarding the case, which was still under judicial consideration.

Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin last week said the court was treading carefully in the electoral protest because it is a “matter of very high public interest.”

He also said the court wasn’t “foot dragging,” noting that revising of ballots would take time.

The result of the revision could mean the dismissal of the poll protest or the continuation of the case. Mr. Marcos is protesting the election results in at least 30 provinces, Romulo B. Macalintal, Ms. Robredo’s lawyer, told reporters.

Last month, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos asked the court to hasten his case by directing hearing commissioners to set a preliminary conference, noting that the revisions on the pilot provinces was finished in February.

The court in July deferred action on the motion of the former senator to investigate the alleged rigging of votes in three provinces in Mindanao and denied the motion of the vice-president to resolve all pending incidents after the revision of ballots for being filed prematurely. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas