Philippine Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Thursday, October 10, gave the public reassurance that former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo is not being manipulated.
Amid the ongoing Supreme Court deliberations on the case, the chief justice told reporters that a decision may come soon.
“This is something I can tell you: we are expected to have a result by next week. It may not be what you expect. We are still discussing many other things so that is all I can tell you. Don’t worry, ’di ko niluluto, ’di pwede lutuin yan (I’m not manipulating it, it can’t be manipulated),” Bersamin told reporters during the launching of the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall.
Bersamin divulged no further details, saying he was being purposefully vague as he was “bound by confidentiality.”
“I have to tell you I am doing it on purpose to be vague. I am bound by confidentiality. I cannot bring you into the [en] banc otherwise we would make our deliberations public,” he said.
He added, “We have certain rules to follow on non-disclosure and I am very careful not to infringe those rules because I am the leader of the Court,” he added.
The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on Tuesday, October 8, deferred voting on the poll protest, more than a month after Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa submitted his report on the recount of ballots from the three pilot provinces selected by Marcos.
The deliberation, which was initially set on October 1 and then October 8, was reset to October 15.
According to Rule 65 of PET rules, “if upon examination of such ballots and proof, and after making reasonable allowances, the Tribunal is convinced that, taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant will most probably fail to make out his case, the protest may forthwith be dismissed, without further consideration of the other provinces mentioned in the protest.”
However, the PET would have to expand the coverage of the recount to 24 other provinces and cities — covering 30,000 poll precincts — if there is a big discrepancy between the official tally and figures from the revision.
In June 2016, Marcos filed his election protest against Robredo after she won by over 260,000 votes in the vice presidential race.