It had been expected that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) – composed of all the members of the Supreme Court – would finally decide the Marcos-Robredo protest case by October 8. Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa had prepared a draft resolution dismissing the Marcos protest but the PET announced it would meet October 8 to vote on the resolution.
The draft resolution called for dismissal of the protest on the basis of a recount of votes in three provinces chosen by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Camarines Sur. It appears the recount did not support Marcos’ claim of fraud. The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo claimed the recount even increased her official lead of some 260,000 votes by another 15,000.
Under Rule 65 of PET Rules, the tribunal may dismiss a protest if the three-province recount fails to show any substantial recovery of votes. The PET, however, decided to simply release the report on the recount and ask the Robredo camp to submit in 20 days its memorandum on Marcos’ new petition on three new provinces — Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
The PET set its next meeting for November 5. Justice Carpio, one of the two justices voting for dismissal of the Marcos protest, is due to retire on October 26. He will, therefore, not be there for the next PET meeting on November 5 when it may vote on Justice Caguioa’s resolution or launch a new investigation into the elections in three new provinces.
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin himself retired last Friday, October 18. so he will also not be there for the next session on November 5. In the wake of expressions of concern about the latest turn of events in the PET, the chief justice assured last week, “Don’t worry. Hindi ko niluluto; hindi puwedeng lutuin yan (I’m not fixing the decision; that can’t be fixed).”
We look forward to the coming PET session on November 5. Its recent actions may have aroused the suspicions of some, but we continue to maintain our trust and confidence in the tribunal, which has the same members as the Supreme Court, the supremely independent judicial body of the Philippine government.