Manila Standard - Danger in the President’s political decisions

News & Interviews
3 July 2020

By Rod Kapunan | Manila Standard

"Why the outrageous delay?"

Part I

It has always been my passion, as a political analyst, to ask why our political leaders act this or that way. For whatever choice they take there is always in them a justifying reason.

Take, for instance, the delay in deciding the petition for recount filed by Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos against the self-styled vice president. We know that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is given up to two years to decide the petition of which an afterthought choice candidate for vice president saw in the early evening of the counting tailing Marcos by almost one million votes.

For an unexplained reason, before daybreak, Ma. Leonora Robredo managed to overtake Marcos by over one million votes. Nobody could believe the cheating machine operated by Smartmatic could overtake the votes by almost two million without the votes of Marcos proportionately increasing.

It was wholesale cheating, for practically the counting machine of Smartmatic downloaded a total of 2 million votes with practically no vote casts in favor of one expected by many to win. The overall ledger in the increase of votes cast only referred to the two specific candidates out of the more than a hundred thousand candidates listed by Comelec in that election of 2016.

Marlon Garcia is the local head of Smartmatic believed by many as a CIA operative to oversee the cheating operation has fled the country to avoid being indicted for electoral sabotage. He together with the former head of the Comelec identified as Andres Bautista, is believed by many to have collaborated to reduce the 2016 election to sham. Both are now in the US.

Marcos was able to present his allegations of the rigged result why he lost despite the expectations of many who voted for and supported him.

To recall, the coup-installed President redrafted her own constitution allegedly to pave the way for a clean and honest election under the tutelage of the Americans. In the land of luminaries where demagogues pretend to say their piece about the Constitution, however, they omitted the Supreme Court’s inherent jurisdiction to decide petitions involving the recount of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Instead, the new constitution gave reference to Section 5, Article VI creating the Electoral Tribunal but by-passed the Commission on Elections and accorded supervisory power to the SC by placing the Chief Justices as presiding head of the presidential electoral tribunal (PET) enacted by R.A. No. 1793. The question is, can this silly provision enacted by ordinary legislation be cited as equivalent to the provision of the Constitution itself?

Specifically R.A. No. 1793 states to quote: “An Act Constituting an Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to Try, Hear and Decide Protest Contesting the Election of the President-Elect and the Vice-President-Elect of the Philippine x x x.”

One cannot even say this law is rooted in the powers of the Legislature to entertain electoral contests and recounts because a particular law called Presidential Electoral Tribunal has been created to perform specific assignments, and the Comelec was also deprived of its regular function. This explains why for whatever irregularity that may be committed in the election of President and vice president, a case cannot be brought for questioning before any court, not even in Congress and the Comelec. In the vernacular, “pina ikot lang tayo.”

It is even foolish for one to raise his petition before the Supreme Court because it reneged on its function, and cannot now resolve the issue of constitutionality for the fact that its own “boss-chief” is there to supervise.

By that as it may, my concern is not why Robredo won and Marcos lost, but why up to now the Supreme Court or its amorphous adjunct has not decided the petition despite the clear mandate for the PET to decide the petition within the given period of time.

Section 3 of R.A. No. 1793 states that “The Presidential Electoral Tribunal shall decide the contest within twenty months after it is filed, and within said period shall declare who among the parties has been elected x x and in case of a tie between the candidates x x x for vice-president x x x.” It appears that the PET and the High Court are collaborating to delay the release of the petition as if to tell the petitioner to wait until kingdom come.

Duterte is now in his fourth year as elected President, and has only two years more to go. Admittedly R.A. No. 1793 is not a constitutional provision, which is the reason why they have almost ignored it. As the justices continue to have their “siesta,” they are quick to slap anybody who would dare remind them of their duty to decide cases within the required period of time.

Even an “abugado de campanilla” will go crazy why the coup-installed president and his appointed minions in the Constitutional Commission have difficulty applying legal hermeneutic in deciphering what those lackeys want to convey or in applying statutory construction to avoid contradictions by way of eliminating redundancy.

As we see it, members of the PET treat themselves as special animals standing above the law ready to pounce on anybody in contempt for defying them.

We can only cite possibilities why the magistrates are purposely delaying, if not avoiding, rendering a decision despite the overwhelming evidence presented by the petitioner. This not to enumerate the numerous instances of insertion, stealing or destruction of ballots, taking out their content to be replaced by fake or tampered votes, outright vandalism like soaking the ballots in filthy water to make them unreadable or mixing them with items such as rotten dried fish to make them obnoxious to the inspector. But again, the PET, for unexplained reason, refuses to come out with a decision.

First, for PET to render a decision during the term of the Duterte administration would justify that either she lost or won that election. In fact, the fraudulent vice president can say straight to the people she won in the 2016 election.

Second, or one can speculate that somebody up there, acting as demigod, is putting pressure on them to hold their decision?

Third, not to render a decision within the time limit would amount to siding with the cheater which is equivalent to dismissing the petition. The catch is they also face the bitter consequence of ignominy.

Fourth, a “no decision” impliedly means PET sided and/or affirmed that no fraud was committed by the phony vice president. It could be likened to double jeopardy because taxpayer’s money was spent for PET just to sit on it when supposedly they are mandated to come out with a decision within 24 months from the date of submission of the petition.

Now, can the President deal with a phony vice president who now stands next to him in rank? Maybe Digong can only blame himself for giving the phony vice president enough bullets to kill him. Aside from the syndicated cheating machine, the unexpected pandemic that affected the economy and the intensifying campaign of the opposition will bolstered that somehow the president is vulnerable. The country’s oligarchy, the US propaganda machines, and the Church-dominated colleges will all coagulate against him.