Bongbong Marcos hits SC justice over ‘bias’ on poll protest
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday hit what he described as the “obvious bias” of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, who is in charge of hearing his election protest case before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), against him and in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila, Marcos also vowed he would not run for senator in 2019 even if President Duterte would ask him to do so, as he believes he won the 2016 vice presidential race against Robredo.

He said a series of decisions issued by the PET on his election protest clearly demonstrated the bias of Caguioa against him.

“It has now become fairly obvious that his resolutions are biased against me and biased in favor of  my oppositor,” Marcos told the weekly news forum.

Caguioa was appointed by former president Benigno Aquino III. They were classmates from elementary to college at the Ateneo de Manila University.

The SC justice, however, is also a classmate of Marcos’ wife Liza Araneta-Marcos at the Ateneo Law School.

The PET is composed of the sitting members of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

While the PET is a collegial body composed of 15 justices of the SC, Marcos said it is Caguioa, who was assigned the case, who decides and issues the minute resolutions regarding his protest.

Marcos has accused Robredo of cheating in the elections, which she narrowly won by over 200,000 votes.

Marcos mentioned some of Caguioa’s orders which supposedly showed his bias in favor of Robredo.

The former senator said that as early as April 2017, the PET gave him only two working days to pay his initial P36-million protest fee or during the Holy Week when all the banks were closed.

Despite this, he managed to comply with the required fee because under the PET rules, his protest would be dismissed if he failed to pay on time.

Robredo, on the other hand, did not pay on the deadline set by the PET but Caguioa gave her an extension. The Vice President, he said, has yet to fully complete the payment of her deposit.

Meanwhile, Robredo’s camp yesterday called Marcos Jr. as “too presumptuous” when he nixed the possibility of running for senator in 2019 as he said he had already won the vice presidency.    

Romulo Macalintal, lead counsel of Robredo, made the statement after Marcos expressed confidence that he would win his electoral protest against the Vice President.

“It was too presumptuous for Mr. Ferdinand Marcos (Jr.) to claim he had already won the vice presidency or he is just dreaming,” Macalintal said.

“If he had won as vice president, why is it that it was Robredo who was proclaimed by Congress as winner?” he said.

Macalintal said Marcos is merely trying to preempt the results of the recount of ballots “where his ridiculous and frivolous claim of massive election cheating will be proven false and a mere imagined victory.” – With Helen Flores

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