By Rey Panaligan
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) deferred to Tuesday next week (October 15) its resolution on the results of the manual recount and revision of ballots in three provinces identified by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as pilot areas in his election protest against Vice-President Ma. Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo.
Supreme Court (SC) Spokesman Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said “the PET did not take any action on the Vice-Presidential Election Protest Case during the tribunal’s session today (October 8), the said case remains pending and is still being deliberated by the members of the tribunal.”
It was not known immediately the reason or reasons for the deferment of the resolution on the recommendation submitted by justice-in-charge Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa on the result in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo.
Sources said Caguioa reportedly recommended the dismissal of the election protest filed by Marcos, and in effect, upheld the victory of Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential election. There was no confirmation on this matter from the PET, however.
Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, who also heads the PET which is composed of all SC justices, earlier said Vice President Robredo stays on her post even after the PET shall have ruled on the result of the recount and revision of ballots in the three pilot provinces.
The result of the recount and revision in the three provinces is just part of the protest filed by Marcos against Robredo, Bersamin said in an interview last Monday over television network CNN Philippines.
The manual recount and revision of ballot in 1,400 boxes from 5,418 clustered precincts in the three provinces were finished by the PET last year.
Marcos protested the results in 132,446 precincts in 27 provinces and cities. He identified the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental with 1,400 ballot boxes in 5,415 clustered precincts for the initial phase of recount and revision.
Robredo also filed a counter-protest against Marcos involving 31,278 precincts. The two cases had been consolidated by the PET.
Based on the 2016 election results, Robredo was declared winner in the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.
Last Monday, Robredo pleaded the PET for a copy of the summary and committee reports on the recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces.
In a motion filed by her lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo told the PET:
“It is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Tribunal furnish the parties with copy of the Summary and Committee Reports on the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three (3) pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Iloilo.”
The motion cited an earlier announcement by the PET, through SC Spokesman Atty Brian Keith Hosaka, that the “tribunal has concluded and finished the recount and revision of ballot from the three provinces covering 5,415 precincts.”
It pointed out that since then “various speculations from the media have been published on the results of the recount and revision from the three provinces….”
It added that “other news items even speculated on the possible scenarios on how the members of the Honorable Tribunal are expected to vote on the matter.”
“If only to put to rest the speculation in the greater interest of transparency, protestee Maria Leonor G. Robredo respectfully asks that the parties be furnished with a copy of the summary and committee report on the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces,” the motion said.
“The parties need to be appraised on the truth of the real result of the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces. This will put to rest any apprehensions the parties entertain as a result of the speculations being reported in various media outlets,” it added.