PET ‘prudent’ in not deciding yet on Marcos vs Robredo, says ex-CJ
MANILA, Philippines — Withholding decision on Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo was a “prudent” thing to do for the Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), according to a former Chief Justice.
Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, in an interview aired in GMA-7’s Balitanghali, said there were still so many issues to be resolved and parties to be heard before a decision can be made on Marcos’ claim that he was cheated in the 2016 vice presidential race.
“In my opinion, that’s a prudent thing to do,” said Panganiban, who also writes a regular column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, referring to the PET’s action not to rule on the case yet but release results of a recount of votes to the two parties.
But Marcos, in an interview with reporters on Tuesday shortly after the release of the recount results at the Supreme Court, said a draft decision penned by Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa recommending dismissal of the case had been rejected by the court. Marcos did not say where his information came from.
Panganiban said he does not see any impact of a decision on Marcos’ election protest on results of the presidential race which saw incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte winning by more than 6 million votes against his nearest rival then, Mar Roxas of the now struggling Liberal Party. Robredo won the vice presidential race by a margin of more than 260,000 votes, considered slim in such an electoral contest.
“They are not parties (to the case),” Panganiban said of the President.
The PET had asked the Marcos and Robredo camps to comment on a committee report containing the results of a recount of votes done in at least three provinces where Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, claimed his votes were shaved and Robredo’s were padded in an electronic form of “dagdag-bawas” the infamous method of fraud in which votes for candidates who paid election syndicates are padded and those of their rivals are shaved.
The high court also asked the two camps to submit answers on other issues, like jurisdiction, and on Marcos’ latest attempt to lay claim to the second highest position of the land by asking the PET to nullify results of the vice presidential race in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, of the then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, an area which had become notorious for election fraud in the past.
Marcos, whose family’s more than 20-year reign in the Philippines came to an abrupt end in part because of massive fraud in snap elections against the late democracy icon Corazon Aquino, had already declared himself Vice President, claiming he had already been robbed of three years of his six-year term.
Robredo retorted to Marcos by saying that between the two of them, she was not the one who has the ill-repute of being a thief./TSB
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