Pres. Duterte had more votes than reported
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2018 - 12:00am

By now, we ought to leave the issue of the ouster of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno behind and move forward to focus on more important matters of the state. Unfortunately we really cannot yet leave this issue behind because part of the decision by the High Tribunal last May 11 was for Sereno to show cause on her alleged violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub judice rule – a prohibition on public discussion of an ongoing case. This is a very important issue in our legal jurisprudence.

Indeed we pointed out in our previous column on Sereno the difference in the demeanor of the late CJ Renato Corona and Sereno on how they approached their respective pending cases. In the SC decision to remove Sereno as Chief Justice, the SC ordered her to explain why she should not be sanctioned for “casting aspersions and ill motives to the Members of the Supreme Court.” As we pointed out, Sereno literally painted the town red, accepting speaking engagements from all over the country, seeking out sympathy for her cause, and even demanding that five or six of her Associate Justices should inhibit themselves from her case.

Reading the 153-page decision, the issue of the bias of the Justices as pointed out by Sereno was thoroughly discussed. In short all that Sereno pinned on her colleagues in the High Tribunal were discussed openly and it was declared that the four Associate Justices, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Noel Tijam, Francis Jardeleza and retired Justice Arturo Brion who attended the House impeachment committee hearing were invited to that hearing to answer questions directly, but none of them gave out their personal impression of Sereno. Hence, there was no bias by any of the Justices as pointed by Sereno.

So we expect that by May 21 the SC would decide on whether ousted CJ Sereno should be sanctioned for violating the sub-judice rule. A worse case scenario is for the SC to disbar her from the practice of law. Meanwhile, certain groups want to file criminal charges against her non-filing of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), which many of the Associate Justices believed she should be criminally liable. So until the SC comes up with their decision on Sereno’s violation of the Sub-Judice rule, only then can we finally leave this issue for good.

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I read a rather disturbing news report from Manila Bulletin that blared, “PET revisors stumble on votes cast for Duterte but not counted for him.” Let me quote a portion of this report which reads, “On condition of anonymity, the revisors said they discovered “many of these incidents” but they did not pay so much attention because their concern is the result of their manual recount and revision of ballots in the vice-presidential protest.”

We know well enough that thanks to the billions in taxpayers money that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) spent for the Automated Election Law through Smartmatic, there is a huge problem that proves to the Filipino voter that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) or the Optical Mark Reader  machines have not really given the nation a clean and honest elections. Why then is there an issue that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) is handling today? If the PCOS machines cannot be manipulated, then we would already have a clear winner in the vice-presidential race for elections 2016.

We understand that the PET is not looking into the results of the Presidential race, but this news tells us what we’ve long suspected…that Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte should have won a higher number of votes than what the Comelec said that Duterte bagged 16,601,997 votes or 6.6 million more votes than second placer Manuel “Mar” Roxas. That Mar Roxas went from last place to second place is a mystery in itself, which the departed former Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista ought to explain to the Filipino people. But the question is, does Pres. Duterte care to get into the bottom of this mess? I certainly hope so.

Mind you, this report renews the question that’s been bugging many pundits… as to why did Senator Franklin Drilon and Sen. Villanueva had 18 million more votes than the most popular candidate in the 2016 elections, which is Pres. Duterte? Now it can be told that with this news report being uncovered by the PET… that Pres. Duterte really had more votes than what the Comelec officially reported to the Filipino people.

Last Monday we just held the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, but the Comelec didn’t use the PCOS or the Optical Mark Reader machines because there was no need to transmit the results of the elections to the central office because the people within the Barangays know that their candidates won or lost their candidacies.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SUPREME COURT
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