By Rey Panaligan
Both Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have been barred from discussing in public their election protest now pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
In a resolution, the PET – composed of all the justices of the Supreme Court (SC) – said “…considering that the revision process is about to commence, the Tribunal directs both protestant (Marcos) and protestee (Robredo) to observe the sub judice rule.”
The Robredo and Marcos camps have been holding press conferences since the filing of the election protest before the PET.
With the gag order, both camps are restricted from making comments or disclosures on the proceedings of their pending disputes under pain of contempt.
The PET had earlier an announced it will start the recount and revision of ballots on March 19 in three provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental – areas where Marcos claimed he could prove irregularities in the 2016 vice presidential race.
Based on election results, Robredo won with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 votes more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.
Marcos contested the elections results in filing a protest against Robredo in June 2016 where he sought the annulment of about one million votes in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.
In defense of her mandate, Robredo filed a counter-protest.
Included in the gag order is a directive for Marcos to answer in 10 days Robredo’s motion for the withdrawal of “any and all pending motions which may delay recount proceedings.”
The PET said based on its records, “the tribunal finds that there are no such pending motions from the protestee.”
Legal sources said the withdrawal of all pending motions would pave the way for the recount. (With a report from Raymund F. Antonio)