The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, junked the request of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to secure the original copies of documents pertinent to his protest against the election of Vice President Leni Robredo.
In its resolution dated Jan. 10, but only released on Thursday, the 15-member electoral tribunal, resolved to allow Marcos to secure photocopies or soft copies of the decrypted ballot images, election returns and other reports for all the protested clustered precincts of pilot provinces Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental subject to the payment of incidental costs.
“However, the custody of the official, printed and authenticated copies of the decrypted ballot images, election returns and audit logs from the protested clustered precincts of the said pilot provinces should remain with the Tribunal for the conduct of the revision proceedings pursuant to 2010 PET rules,” the PET resolution said.
In a statement, the Marcos camp lamented that the PET resolution is a confirmation of the bias of justice in-charge Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
“Senator Marcos had already made public last week the obvious bias of Justice Caguioa in his case and he said he would not be surprised if this kind of resolution would come out and he was correct. This is another clear confirmation that he is indeed biased against Senator Marcos and in favor of Mrs. Robredo,” Marcos’ spokesperson llllawyer Victor Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said while the PET is a collegial body composed of 15 justices of the SC, it is Caguioa, as the ponente in charge of the case, who decides and issues the minute resolutions regarding his protest.
He also lamented that PET granted Robredo copies of the election-related documents without her shouldering part of the decryption cost.
“So kami na pinagbayad ng lahat—toner, papel, sweldo—ayaw ibigay sa amin at pinagbabayad ulit kung gusto naming ng kopya. Si Mrs. Robredo na nag-oppose ay matagal nang binigyan ng kopya at libre pa itong binigay sa kanya,” Rodriguez said.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 vice presidential election.