MANILA – Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Thursday brushed off reports that the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, would most likely vote 8-6 in favor of pushing through with the electoral protest filed by losing candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“You ask the columnist what her or his basis. I cannot confirm or deny that because he must know more than I do. That's the bad part about it. There is no definite voting yet or anything that happened in that particular case,” he told reporters Thursday at an event in Manila.
SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka confirmed last month that Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa has submitted his report on the revision and recount of ballots on the 3 pilot provinces chosen by Marcos, Iloilo, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, which consists of 5,417 voting precincts.
The Robredo camp earlier urged the tribunal to junk the electoral protest, claiming that the vice president’s lead even grew by 15,000 votes.
PET's Rule 65 allows the tribunal to dismiss the electoral protest if Marcos could show no substantial recovery in the 3 designated pilot provinces.
The PET has so far not released details of the report and Bersamin himself could not confirm how long the report is.
But he explained, the tribunal is not obliged to approve the report.
“When a report is issued, it does not necessarily mean that we have already to consider that report, approve it, adopt it etc… It’s not automatic, otherwise we will not be a deliberative body, a collegial body,” he explained.
He added that just because a case is on the SC en banc’s agenda does not mean it would lead to a resolution.
He also could not confirm if the deliberation and the vote on the electoral protest would take place on Tuesday, October 8, as earlier reported or before his retirement on October 18.
“I do not know. My retirement does not demand from the other justices that we should act on any kind of case. [The Supreme Court] is bigger than any single justice. I do not like to say na my retirement has no value but I would also like to say that we must respect the opinion of 14 others. The one who is retiring is only one of 15 so unimportant 'yan (that's unimportant),” he said.
Marcos had claimed "massive cheating" in the 2016 vice presidential polls where he lost to Robredo by some 260,000 votes, the closest vice-presidential race in recent memory.
Robredo denied allegations of cheating.
Robredo clinched the vice presidency with 14,418,817 votes, while Marcos garnered 14,155,344 votes based on the 2016 Certificates of Canvass.