Bersamin: No 'foot-dragging' in Marcos poll protest vs Robredo
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - September 4, 2019 - 4:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Wednesday assured that there is no “foot-dragging” in resolving the electoral protest of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Bersamin, in the Chief Justice Meets the Press event, said that while the public may think that the tribunal is taking its time ruling on Marcos’ 2016 poll protest, the PET has been following the process for it.

“We are aware that the public is uneasy about ‘foot-dragging,’ as the public may call it, but it is not really foot-dragging if you would know the effort that we have expended in the revision process,” the chief justice said.

More than three years have passed since Marcos filed his petition challenging Robredo’s electoral win in the 2016 national elections.

The chief justice stressed that the tribunal is being “careful” in resolving the case as it involves “the credibility of our processes as well as the political system.”

“We are reminding each other, not only the [member-in-charge], the need for results,” Bersamin said, adding that they cannot say when the results would be released.

“It all depends on how we process the protest,” headed.

Caguioa to file a report on pilot provinces’ recount

Last July, the tribunal junked Robredo’s plea to immediately resolve Marcos’ poll protest as it explained that the PET “has yet to complete the proceedings following Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules, which entail recount, revision and appreciation of the votes cast in protestant’s pilot provinces.”

The recount of the votes from Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo—Marcos’ identified three pilot provinces—started April 2 last year. Robredo’s camp, in an earlier filed motion, said the recount of the three provinces ended last March 4.

Bersamin said that Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the member-in-charge for the case, will “very soon” file his report on the revision of ballots in the three pilot provinces—Marcos’ second cause of action in his protest.

“He has informed us that his report will be a voluminous report and that is expected because when you have revised ballots  from at least three provinces,” the chief justice shared.

Tribunal looking into Marcos’ third cause of action

The chief justice also said that there is “progress” in determining whether there is “massive fraud” in the past national elections.

Bersamin said that determining whether there is fraud would depend on whether “there is sufficient number of votes [that] were fraudulent or influenced by terrorism.”

Marcos identified three causes of action in his poll protest: The first calls for the nullification of results of the vice presidential race, but the tribunal junked this in September 2017.

The second cause of action involves the recount of 27 provinces.

Marcos’ third cause of action is seeking the nullification of election results in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan, alleging “traditional” modes of cheating such as vote-buying.

Bersamin however said that he is not in authority to further expound on the matter.

BONGBONG MARCOS ELECTORAL PROTEST LENI ROBREDO LUCAS BERSAMIN POLL PROTEST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SUPREME COURT
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