Marcos poll protest can’t be manipulated, Chief Justice Bersamin assures public
MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Thursday assured the public that there is no manipulation at the Supreme Court, which sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as it continues to deliberate on a protest questioning Vice President Leni Robredo’s electoral win.
“Don’t worry, ‘di ko niluluto ‘yan. Di pwede lutuin yan (I’m not manipulating that. You cannot manipulate that),” Bersamin said, referring to former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest.
Bersamin was asked about the protest on the sidelines of the SC’s launch of the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall.
Reporters asked the chief justice if the court en banc had taken action on Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa’s report on the initial recount of the protest.
He explained: “Taking no action is also taking action… I know everybody is so keen expecting some announcements but… you know the en banc is very deliberate about serious matters. This is a matter of national impact so that is all I can share with you.”
Last Tuesday, the SC again deferred voting on Marcos’ protest, more than a month since Caguioa submitted his report on the revision, or recount, of ballots from Marcos’ three pilot provinces.
Following Rule 65 of PET rules, the recount result will determine whether Marcos’ protest will be dismissed or not. If there is a big discrepancy between the official tally and figures from the revision, the PET would expand the coverage of the recount to 24 other provinces and cities, covering 30,000 poll precincts.
Voting on October 15?
Bersamin also said that there “probably” will be voting on the high-profile case next en banc session, October 15.
He explained that the said vote will be on something that divides the court, and not about “housekeeping matters” such as “certain aspects of the case.” The chief justice said that the public can expect “something definite” next week.
Bersamin had earlier said that Marcos’ poll protest has been on the en banc’s agenda every Tuesday.
Pressure at the SC?
He stressed however that the members of the PET do not feel the pressure even if there is a rally right outside the SC’s gates every time they meet in full court and deliberate on the case.
“We know there is pressure there, but we are very mature members of the SC, so if anyone of us feels pressured, we would just help the pressured member… All of us are pressured to some degree but the pressure we experience [is] bearable because if it is not, we would just resign,” Bersamin added.