Zip it, SC tells camps of Leni, Bongbong
(The Philippine Star) – October 10, 2019 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka reminded the camps of Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Bongbong Marcos to observe the sub judice rule and stop issuing comments to the media on the poll protest pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“I would just like to remind the parties and their lawyers to respect the order of the Court to them not to issue a comment or discuss the case with the media under the sub judice rule,” Hosaka said.
In June last year, the SC imposed a separate P50,000 fine against Robredo and Marcos and their counsels for violating the sub judice rule.
The SC official issued the reminder after Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, was reported to have said that they have evidence showing that after the initial vote recount in the three pilot provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental – the Vice President increased her lead by 15,000 votes over Marcos.
“So we said this should already be dismissed. But there are speculations that even if there was no substantial (evidence), (the PET) would continue with the case. That does not seem right because under the rules if they do not see any anomaly in the three provinces, they would dismiss the case,” Macalintal said.
He wondered why it seemed that it was the SC that did not want to follow the rules.
Hosaka said it would be difficult for him to issue a comment on Macalintal’s claim of Robredo gaining more votes, since he has not yet seen the report submitted by PET member-in-charge and SC Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa on the three pilot provinces to the tribunal.
“It is only the justices who have information about this because this is confidential,” he said.
He explained, “Justices are carefully studying the case pending before the tribunal since at stake is the second highest government position in the country, the vice presidency, and who was the candidate really chosen by the people as their vice president. So that is why we have to thoroughly study and for the justices to be careful in dealing with every issue and evidence.”
On June 29, 2016, Marcos filed an election protest against Robredo. He asked the PET to declare Robredo’s victory null and void; conduct a recount of ballots in all of the 36,465 protested clustered precincts in 27 cities and provinces; and declare the election results in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan as null on the grounds of terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters.
With his electoral protest, Marcos was allowed to designate three pilot provinces which best exemplify election fraud for the manual recount and serve as basis for whether the tribunal would proceed with the recount in all protested areas.
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