Business World - Court ‘very careful’ in Bongbong case

4 September 2019

By Business World

THE NATION’S top court is treading carefully on the issue of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s election protest for the 2016 vice-presidential race, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin said yesterday.

“This is a matter of very high public interest because it involves to an extent, the stability of the government,” the chief magistrate told reporters. “We have to be very careful what to decide here.”

The court expects a progress report on the case from the assigned magistrate soon, he added.

Mr. Bersamin, who is retiring in October, said the court wasn’t “foot dragging” on the electoral case, adding that revising the ballots from Mr. Marcos’s three pilot provinces takes time.

Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa will report details of the revision “very soon,” he added.

“I know the impatience of the public about this case,” Mr. Bersamin said. “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,” he added.

Mr. Marcos, who lost the vice presidential race Maria Leonor G. Robredo by a hair, filed the electoral protest in 2016. Ms. Robredo is halfway through her six-year term.

Last month, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos asked the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to hasten his case by directing hearing commissioners to set a preliminary conference.

He noted that the revision of ballots in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental had 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.

It also denied the motion of Ms. Robredo to resolve all pending incidents after the revision of ballots, saying it was filed prematurely. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas