By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo called for public vigilance on the electoral protest she is facing before the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
Vice presidential spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said Filipinos should be “aware, vigilant, and ready” on the report to be released soon by PET on the vote recount of three provinces under the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Robredo.
“Given the importance of this issue and its bearing, not only on the integrity of the 2016 elections but on the current political situation in our country, calls for vigilance and continued scrutiny from concerned Filipinos are definitely not misplaced,” he said in his column posted on the politics.com.ph website.
“Especially in the context of unrelenting attempts to harass VP Leni, keeping ourselves informed of current developments and be always ready to take the necessary action to protect our democratic rights and uphold the rule of law is always a must,” he added.
Gutierrez made the call after SC Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, who is the justice-in-charge of Marcos’ election case, already submitted his report to the High Court.
The 15-member Tribunal, however, has not yet taken any action on Caguioa’s report.
In his column, titled “Getting ready for possible PET ruling,” Gutierrez wanted to trust the SC that it would make the right ruling in connection with the poll protest.
The former lawmaker cited the PET resolution to use the Commission on Elections’ shading threshold of 25 percent in the vice presidential recount of votes.
“I, for one, would still like to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the PET,” Gutierrez, who is also a legal adviser to Robredo, said.
“The PET has acted fairly and judiciously in resolving previous issues that have come up in the course of the protest, and I trust that this will continue,” he continued.
Nevertheless, Gutierrez noted that many Filipinos are still “wary” due to the “unprecedented level of unpredictability” in Philippine law over the past years.
“Ultimately, the firmest guarantee of accountability for our public institutions is an informed, active, and engaged citizenry, and the matter of the protest against VP is no exception,” he said.
Robredo’s lead counsel Romulo Macalintal said Caguioa’s report would serve as determining factor on whether there would be a need to also look at the other provinces that are the subject of the protest or if the PET would dismiss the case.
“If there is no change or substantial recovery seen, the Supreme Court will really dismiss the protest. But if there was substantial recovery, the protest will continue,” he said.