Manila Bulletin – SC has not ruled on Marcos protest; parties ordered to comment on recount findings

By Rey Panaligan | Manila Bulletin

There was no ruling yet from the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), on the protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo.

Instead, the PET – after Tuesday’s (October 15) session – ordered the release to the parties of the report on the recount, revision and appreciation of ballot in the three provinces – Iloilo, Camarines Sur, and Negros Oriental — identified by Marcos as pilot areas in his protest and for them to file their respective comment.

The parties were also ordered to submit their respective memorandum in 20 days from receipt of the PET resolution on Marcos’s motion to nullify the results in the three ARMM provinces – Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.

In a press statement, SC’s public information office (PIO) Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said:

“In PET CASE No. 005 (Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Protestant, vs. Maria Leonor “Leni Daang Matuwid” G. Robredo), the Tribunal has decided to release to the parties the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three pilot provinces, and for them to comment thereon.

“The Tribunal likewise required the parties to submit a memorandum on the various issues relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the third cause of action, which is the annulment of election results for Vice President in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao, within a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice.”

The PIO did not disclose the voting on the action of the PET. It said that Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa dissented.

Reports stated that Carpio cast a dissenting vote “because the protest should have been dismissed since Marcos failed to make substantial recovery in the three pilot provinces.”

With the action of the PET, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, who is retiring mandatorily on October 18, and Carpio, who is retiring on October 26, cannot participate anymore in the resolution of the Marcos-Robredo election protest.

The SC will go on its decision-writing period from October 18 to November 3 and will resume sessions on November 4.

Thereafter, it will go on recess for the Christmas period and return to work after the New Year.

During the press briefing, Hosaka clarified that what would be released to the Marcos and Robredo camps is the result in the recount, revision, and appreciation of ballots in the three provinces, and not the so-called report and recommendation made by justice-in-in charge Caguioa.

Sources said Caguioa reportedly recommended the dismissal of the election protest filed by Marcos, and in effect, upheld the victory of Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential election. There was no confirmation on this matter from the PET, however.

The manual recount and revision of ballot in 1,400 boxes from 5,418 clustered precincts in the three provinces were finished by the PET last year.

Marcos protested the results in 132,446 precincts in 27 provinces and cities. He identified the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental with 1,400 ballot boxes in 5,415 clustered precincts for the initial phase of recount and revision.

Robredo also filed a counter-protest against Marcos involving 31,278 precincts. The two cases had been consolidated by the PET.

Based on the 2016 election results, Robredo was declared a winner in the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.

Earlier, Robredo pleaded the PET for a copy of the summary and committee reports on the recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces.

In a motion filed by her lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo told the PET:

“It is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Tribunal furnish the parties with copy of the Summary and Committee Reports on the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three (3) pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo.”

The motion cited an earlier announcement by the PET, through SC Spokesman Atty Brian Keith Hosaka, that the “tribunal has concluded and finished the recount and revision of ballot from the three provinces covering 5,415 precincts.”

It pointed out that since the “various speculations from the media have been published on the results of the recount and revision from the three provinces….”

It added that “other news items even speculated on the possible scenarios on how the members of the Honorable Tribunal are expected to vote on the matter.”

“If only to put to rest the speculation in the greater interest of transparency, protestee Maria Leonor G. Robredo respectfully asks that the parties be furnished with a copy of the summary and committee report on the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces,” the motion said.

“The parties need to be appraised on the truth of the real result of the revision, recount, and re-appreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces. This will put to rest any apprehensions the parties entertain as a result of the speculations being reported in various media outlets,” it added.

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