VICE presidential election recount justice-in-charge Benjamin Caguioa could have been conducting the manual revision in former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s electoral protest all by himself without the collegiality of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
A well-informed source in PET, who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak, yesterday underscored this.
“He’s implementing actions and policy decisions outside of what could have been the consensus of the Tribunal’s majority,” the PET source said.
The insider recalled how former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno was ousted after she was accused by her colleagues of implemeting orders that do not reflect the decisions of the SC en banc.
During the aborted impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives, Sereno was accused by no less than Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro of rendering decisions and promulgations not within or beyond what had been agreed in en banc sessions.
“The developments in the PET manual recount favoring protestee Leni Robredo can’t go unnoticed for long after the discovery by protestant Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. of a series of doubtful and disputable decisions and actions regarding the conduct of the revision,” said the PET source.
The source cited the case of the Pansol outing controversy in Laguna where PET junked Marcos’ request for an investigation “because the Tribunal has already concluded one and, for which, sanctions were already meted out to certain outing participants.”
“If, indeed, there was an investigation conducted on the said Pansol swimming controversy, such was certainly not made an official business for the PET en banc to know and to act upon,” the source lamented.
The source added that this could be “the reason why the camp of the former senator couldn’t get the transcript of the supposedly Pansol outing investigation proceedings no matter how hard it would press for a copy… and the same reason why Robredo had inside information of the presumed probe.”
The PET insider also revealed that the recently issued resolutions on the issue of the 25% shading threshold could possibly include provisions that were not part of the Tribunal’s majority consensus.
He explained that in PET’s resolution dated July 10, 2018, the camp of protestant Marcos was furnished with a notice containing basically similar contents but with reportedly two doubtful versions:
Version One, which was reportedly received by the camp of Marcos on July 12, 2018, included the Tribunal’s denial of protestant’s motion to investigate the Pansol outing and Version Two, which was received again by the Marcos’ camp on July 19, 2018, has the same contents, except that this time there was an insertion under item “c,” page 3, sub-item “ii which required the Comelec to provide the PET with fifty (50) vote counting machines.
Item ii of the PET resolution which the insider furnished this newspaper read in part: “For the Comelec to provide the Tribunal within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice hereof with at least fifty (50) VCM and other related materials and paraphernalia’s to enable the Tribunal to implement Rule 43 of the 2010 PET Rules in resolving issues as to whether a certain mark or shade was read by the VCM…”
“Such addendum in the second version was obviously irregular and manifestly illegal which the majority of the PET en banc would not allow because it runs counter to the very principle of a manual recount,” explained the PET insider, who’s a lawyer.
Under Caguioa’s stewardship, the PET manual recount to resolve Marcos’ claim that Robredo has cheated her way to the vice presidency is moving in what the camp of the former senator described as an irritatingly slow-pace all throughout the more than 2 years since it was filed before the Tribunal.
According to the PET insider, “as the recount justice-in-charge, Caguioa is in full control of the minute resolutions, the phasing of the case and basically all the daily grind in the revision floor.”
At press time last night, Caguioa was not available to give his comment.