The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has once again deferred voting on former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“The PET did not take any action on the vice presidential election protest case during the tribunal’s session today,” said court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka, GMA News reported.
“The said case remains pending and is still being deliberated by members of the tribunal,” he added. A court insider said the tribunal reset deliberations to October 15.
Marcos’ spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, said he will not make a statement until a decision comes out “in deference to the PET and the honourable justices.” It has been almost a month since Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the magistrate in charge of the case, submitted a report to the tribunal regarding the recount or revision of ballots from Marcos’ chosen pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
Caguioa turned in the report on September 9. Robredo’s lawyers have asked the PET for a copy of the report.
Marcos has been contesting Robredo’s victory in the last vice presidential elections for the last three years. The former congresswoman defeated him in 2016 by a margin of 263,473 votes, a win that he claims was a product of electoral fraud. The results of the manual recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental will determine whether or not Marcos’ protest will advance to the rest of his contested clustered voting precincts.
The protest originally had three causes of action — the annulment of Robredo’s proclamation as vice president, the manual recount of ballots, and the annulment of the election results for the vice president’s post in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.
But Marcos was left with two causes of action when the PET upheld the integrity of the automated election system and junked the first cause of action in 2017. Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin earlier said the PET has to be “very careful” in deciding the case “because the credibility of our processes as well as of the political system here is at stake.”
Bersamin and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will retire on October 18 and on October 26, respectively.
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