By Ashzel Hachero | Malaya
CHIEF Justice Lucas Bersamin yesterday said the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is not “foot-dragging” on the resolution of the nearly three year-old electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo.
Bersamin said the high court is just being careful in resolving the case.
“We are aware that the public is uneasy about ‘foot-dragging, but it is not really foot-dragging if you would know the effort that we have expended in the revision process,” Bersamin said.
He said the decision on the electoral protest will not be a simple victory for one party but will also deal with the integrity and credibility of the electoral and judicial processes.
“I know the impatience of the public about this case of the Vice President being protested but 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 so we are doing it slowly but we are doing it with sufficient speed,” he also said.
He added that “we are actually already fast.”
Bersamin said Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the ponente of the case, will soon file his report on the revision process of the ballots from the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental where anomalies allegedly happened in the conduct of the 2016 national elections.
Bersamin said Caguioa’s “voluminous” submission will decide whether the electoral tribunal will proceed to the other aspects of the case.
After the PET finishes its recount in the pilot provinces, it will decide whether to proceed with the vote revision of a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in Marcos’ election protest.
Last July, the PET dismissed the urgent motion filed by Robredo seeking the dismissal of Marcos’ election protest for being premature.
In her urgent motion then, Robredo through her legal counsel Romulo Macalintal said there is a need for the PET to resolve all the pending incidents as she claimed her lead against Marcos even increased by more than 15, 000 votes after the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots in the three pilot provinces.
Last month, Marcos asked the PET to set his electoral protest for preliminary conference following the completion of revisions in the three pilot provinces.
Marcos through his lawyer George Garcia said there is a need for the PET to set the preliminary conference considering that it already completed the revision in the said provinces last February 8.