The Manila Times - Draft ruling vs Marcos poll protest divides SC

11 September 2019

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

Several Supreme Court (SC) justices were inclined to oppose the draft decision circulated by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dismissing the poll protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leonor Robredo, sources told The Manila Times on Tuesday.

Caguioa’s draft decision, copies of which were sent to Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and the 13 associate justices on Monday, upheld the proclamation of Robredo.

Unimpeachable sources told The Times that Caguioa, the designated ponente of the case, circulated his 54-page draft decision on Monday. The magistrate adopted a rarely used procedure in distributing his ponencia — each set bears a water mark.

Sources, however, clarified that the draft decision is not final since members of the tribunal have yet to deliberate on Caguioa’s ponencia and later cast their votes whether they agree or disagree with the recommendation.

The next deliberation was set on October 1.

Until the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), comes out with its final and official ruling, the case remains unresolved, the sources said.

They added that some justices tended to concur with the draft decision, while others said they intend to file their objection. Some magistrates also asked for more time to study Caguioa’s ponencia.

On Tuesday, Brian Hosaka, head of the high court’s Public Information Office, said the PET had “concluded and finished the recount and revision of ballots in the three test provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Camarines Sur, involving 5,415 election precincts.”

Hosaka said the tribunal “has not taken any action yet on the report of Justice Caguioa.”

“The tribunal would like to again remind the parties that they are still subject to the subjudice rule pursuant to its resolution dated Feb. 13, 2018 and March 20, 2018. Hence, they are strictly ordered to refrain from making any public statements to the media with regards to the case,” Hosaka added.

In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts. Based on date from the Commission on Elections, the 39,221 clustered precincts are composed of 132,446 precincts.

Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes in 2016. He accused her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of vice president.