By Rey Panaligan
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has finished its recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces pinpointed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bong” Marcos Jr. as pilot areas in his electoral protest filed in 2016 against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
But the PET, composed of all Supreme Court (SC) justices, said it “has not taken any action yet on the report” submitted by its member-in-charge Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa.
In a press statement issued by the SC’s public information office (PIO), the PET said:
“The Tribunal would like to again remind the parties that they are still subject to the subjudice rule pursuant to its resolutions dated Feb. 13, 2018 and March 20, 2018.
“Hence, they are strictly ordered to refrain from making any public statements to the media with regard to the case.”
Finished by the PET were the recount and revision of ballots in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur – three places where Marcos alleged there were rampant irregularities in the 2016 vice-presidential election.
Marcos’ protest covered election returns in 27 provinces and cities.
The PET said that the results of the recount and revision of ballot in the three pilot provinces would determine if the same process would be done in the remaining areas identified in Marcos’ protest.
Robredo was declared winner in the 2016 election with 14,418,817 votes as against Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.
On the basis of the results, Robredo was proclaimed and has assumed the post of Vice President.
Earlier, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin said the PET was handling the election protest in the 2016 vice-presidential election “with sufficient speed.”
“I know the impatience of the public about this case of the Vice President being protested but we should also be careful of what we do here because the credibility of our processes as well as the political system is at stake so we are doing it slowly but we are doing it with sufficient speed,” Bersamin said.
“There is a very high public interest (in the protest) because it involves the stability of the government,” he stressed.