By Jeffrey Damicog | Manila Bulletin
Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has expressed the hope that the high tribunal, sitting as the Presidential Election Tribunal (PET), will be able to rule on the election protest of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) next year.
“The Supreme Court would like that all election cases should be terminated before the end of the term. That is the policy of the court,” Peralta said during an online press briefing held on Friday, Oct. 23.
The chief justice said that he has already reminded the magistrates of this policy.
“It would be still be better, sabi ko sa kanila (I told them), that cases should be decided before the filing of certificates of candidacy which (will be in) October 2021,” Peralta said.
Peralta recounted that he previously chaired the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) prior to his appointment as chief justice by President Duterte.
“During the 17th Congress I headed that office. All the cases were resolved before I left in June 2019,” he said.
Marcos filed the election protest before the PET to contest his loss in the 2016 elections to Vice President Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo due to alleged irregularities in the conduct of the polls.
Marcos’ protest has three causes of action – annulment of the proclamation of Robredo; recount and revision of ballots in 36,465 protested clustered precincts; and annulment of election results for vice president in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan on the ground of alleged terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts.
The PET has already finished the revision of the ballots in three pilot provinces Marcos himself picked, namely, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
Robredo asked the PET to dismiss Marcos’ protest for his alleged failure to present any substantial recovery of ballots in the three pilot provinces, while, Marcos asked the tribunal to re-examine the results.