Bersamin: Having parties comment on VP recount report is 'due process'
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin is set to retire from the Supreme Court on October 18.
The STAR/KJ Rosales
Bersamin: Having parties comment on VP recount report is 'due process'
Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 16, 2019 - 6:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s ruling ordering the two parties in the poll protest on the vice presidency is “part of due process.”

Bersamin told reporters at the launching of his coffee table book, “Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin: His Enduring Legacy,” that he “wanted to delay the vote” on former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“After some deliberations, we were able to conclude that it is time indeed for the parties to be asked to comment on the report generated by [Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa] who was the justice in charge,” he added.

RELATED: Retired chief justice says PET's latest action on poll protest 'prudent'

The SC, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, deferred action on Caguioa’s report in at least two en banc sessions.

On October 15, the tribunal ordered the release of copies of Caguioa’s report to the parties and ordered them to comment on it.

Comments sought on third cause of action

The parties were also ordered to comment on Marcos’ motion to proceed with his third cause of action, which is the technical examination of voting in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s counsel, already said they will oppose Marcos’ motion as they said that the case should have been dismissed under Rule 65 of the PET.

EXPLAINER: What is PET Rule 65 and why are Robredo's lawyers bringing it up?

They claimed that after the recount in the three provinces, there was “no substantial recovery” on Marcos’ part, and that Robredo gained 15,000 votes from the revision.

But Macalintal said Wednesday morning that what they have is only a report of their own revisors and they are waiting for the PET's official summary of recount results.

Bersamin: I wanted to delay voting

Bersamin also shared that majority wanted to take action on the report on the recount of Marcos’ three pilot provinces.

“And before we could take any action, we had to solicit the comments of the parties, that’s only fair, that is part of due process,” he added.

 Bersamin also explained that it is “only fair” that parties are given an opportunity to raise objections if they feel they were “prejudiced by any conclusions” included in Caguiao’s report.

The chief justice, who is due to retire Friday, also admitted that he did not want to take part in the voting because he “did not like the media speculating that he cooked or orchestrated the result.”

RELATED: Marcos poll protest can't be manipulated, Chief Justice Bersamin assures public

The SC goes on a writing break, and will resume its full court session on November 5.

Bersamin would have retired by then. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio would have also stepped down, as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 26.

Under the Constitution, President Rodrigo Duterte has to fill seats at the Supreme Court within 90 days from the date of vacancy.

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