Supreme Court rejects Caguioa request to be replaced as VP case ponente
The Supreme Court said it had unanimously rejected Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa’s request to be removed as the one in charge of the election protest filed by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The high court hears the case as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), with Caguioa assigned as its member in charge.
The tribunal issued a rare statement to announce that it was standing by Caguioa, while at the same time denouncing the leak of the justice’s letter to a newspaper.
The court served notice that it had in the past “severely” punished those found to have leaked confidential court documents.
“Contrary to these [newspaper] reports, there has been no change in the management of the PET Case No. 0005 as the request was denied unanimously,” the Supreme Court said in a statement on Monday.
“In the past, the court has dealt severely with individuals and court personnel who have leaked privileged and confidential matters, as well as pending matters,” it added.
Apparently, Caguioa had asked his fellow magistrates to remove him as member in charge.
According to his purported letter, Caguioa complained that he had been accused of “all sorts of conspiracy and bad faith” ever since the case was assigned to him.
Caguioa reportedly addressed his letter to the court as a whole, days before Marcos officially asked Caguioa to inhibit from the case.
In his urgent motion on Aug. 6, Marcos said he could overlook Caguioa’s ties with former President Benigno Aquino III but not his wife’s political views.
Caguioa was Aquino’s classmate and served as his former chief legal counsel and justice secretary.
According to Marcos, Caguioa’s wife posted messages in a phone chat group that showed she “was and still is an ardent supporter of Robredo and even actively campaigned for her” in the May 2016 elections.
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