The Manila Times - SC revives Marcos poll protest after nearly a year

5 October 2020

By Reynaldo O. Arcilla |  The Manila Times

FINALLY, the Supreme Court has decided to revive the electoral protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against the “election” of Maria Leonor Robredo as vice president in the 2016 elections.

Whether or not the court was prodded to make the decision due to weeks of raising the matter in this space is not important; although I must confess I feel personally gratified by the tribunal’s decision.

As it turned out, the ponente of the poll protest, Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen, sat on the case for almost a year after the court voted to have him replace Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa as ponente. Both are appointees of Yellow Horde leader, ex-President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

(Ponente is the member to whom the court, after its deliberation on the merits of the case, assigns the writing of its decision or resolution in the case.)

People now expect the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which is composed of Supreme Court justices, to act posthaste to resolve the case for justice to be served.

Marcos filed his protest in June 2016.

Under Republic Act 1793 of June 21, 1957, the PET “shall decide the contest within 20 months after it is filed.”

On the other hand, Batas Pambansa 884 of Dec. 3,1985 specifies that the tribunal “must decide the contest within 12 months after it is filed.”

In either case, the period within which the PET was supposed to decide the case has lapsed. It has been more than four years since the protest was filed.

Speaking of Leonen, he is now accused of allegedly not filing his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for 15 years since his days as a faculty member of the University of the Philippines.

Failure to comply with the constitutional provision on SALNs is what caused former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to lose her position. It stands to reason that Leonen should be made answerable for his alleged violation of the same law.

Untouchable ‘Tweeterboy’ Locsin

Right after his boss, President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, said he was willing to offer for sale the country’s properties in Japan to fund the anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) campaign, later clarified by Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. as “just a suggestion,” his Yellowtard and Amboy of a Foreign secretary, Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin Jr. said:

“I will never agree to the sale of our properties in Japan for any reason. (Even if the President issues a formal directive to do so?) Sell the properties of the departments of budget, treasury [and] health above all for its lousy response to Covid.” (That sounds like a direct assault on the Duterte government’s anti-Covid campaign. Whose side is he on?)

“Imagine selling our Japan properties to fund the programs of [the Department of Health]? Rob PhilHealth some more instead. They’re good at that. Sell San Lazaro. Sell RITM,” Locsin added. (A dig at Digong’s adamant defense of Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd?)

Hmm…How can Digong tolerate such an outburst from Tweeterboy? There have been other instances in the past when he publicly contradicted his boss on important policy decisions. Yet he is still around. He really must have something on Digong that makes him untouchable.

If Digong can’t control Locsin, he should get rid of him before he does irreparable damage to his credibility as a leader.

Oh, Tweeterboy went further, thus:

“To raise funds to fight Covid, don’t sell Japan properties. Sell corrupt and incompetent health officials (and the authors of House Bill 1921 that identified the properties that should be sold) in the slave markets of North Africa. Although nearly worthless, if we sell them all we’ll raise a bit. I think.”

Sarcastic fellow, ain’t he?


1. Is the US back in Subic? — There was a report that the mainstream media here has so far ignored, i.e., that Australian and US companies’ bid to take over Subic Bay will push through.

An Australian shipbuilder and US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management will reportedly soon take over the Subic Bay yard from Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean firm that went bankrupt in 2016.

For the sake of transparency, President Digong should inform the Filipino people what the actual lowdown is on the report, bearing in mind his promise to rid the country of foreign troops and military bases.

2. The notorious Smartmatic — In June last year, Digong directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to search for a replacement for poll technology provider Smartmatic.

Has Digong changed his mind? If not, shouldn’t he order the DICT to come up with its recommendation forthwith?

With the Comelec now virtually composed of his appointees, it should be a cinch to “convince” them to get rid of Smartmatic pronto.

So, what’s keeping Digong from ordering the agencies concerned to carry out his order?

3. Fugitive Andres Bautista — In November last year, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd urged the National Bureau of Investigation to serve the arrest warrant issued by the Senate on former Comelec Chairman Bautista for contempt for ignoring the Senate hearings into his alleged ill-gotten wealth. It was his wife who blew the whistle on him

Bautista was earlier impeached by the House of Representatives but resigned and left the country before standing trial in the Senate. It was later found out that he had fled to the US.

What, if any, is Sotto and/or the government doing about seeking his extradition from the US to face the charges against him? Isn’t flight a sign of guilt? Maybe his passport should be canceled to force his return?

Methinks the government should do something to effect the return of Bautista to dispel rumors that he holds by the b…lls certain powerful politicians who allegedly benefited from the use of Smartmatic.