No rigging of PET decision on Leni-Marcos case: Bersamin

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    CHIEF Justice Lucas Bersamin yesterday assured the public that the high court, sitting as the Presidential Election Tribunal, could not manipulate or rig its decision on the election protest filed by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

    “Don’t worry hindi ko niluluto. Di puwedeng lutuin yan (Don’t worry I am not fixing the decision. That can’t be fixed),” Bersamin told reporters at the sidelines of the Judiciary Memorabilia Hall’s New Featured Magistrate event featuring works, mementos, and personal collection of the chief justice at the SC main building in Manila.

    Deliberations on results of the revision, recount, and re-appreciation of ballots from three pilot provinces — Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo were originally scheduled for October 1 but were moved to October 8 and moved again October 15.

    Marcos has said he could prove that irregularities marred the conduct of the 2016 polls in those provinces, which he said resulted in his narrow loss to Robredo.

    Last week, there were reports that the PET has decided on the case with a vote of 8-6 in favor of Marcos, but Bersamin belied this earlier this week. He also said the PET decision may not come before his retirement on October 18 because many issues in the case have yet to be resolved.

    Yesterday, he said results of the deliberations could be released by next week.

    “We are expected to have a result by next week. It may not be what you expect because we are still discussing many other things. That’s all that I can tell you,” he said though he declined to provide details.

    “I have to be vague and I’m doing it on purpose because I am bound by confidentiality rules. We have certain rules to follow on non-disclosure and I’m very careful since I am the leader of the Court,” he added.

    Ask if there is pressure on the PET to act on the case, Bersamin said there is always pressure every time there is a “PET case” but added it is bearable.

    “We know that there is pressure there but you know we are very mature members of the Supreme Court. So if one feels pressured, we will just help yung pressured na member.

    Sabihin ko sa inyo, lahat kami may pressure to a certain degree but the pressure is bearable dahil kung hindi mag-resign na lang kami (you just resign),” he added.

    Whatever the decision on the revision, Robredo will remain as the vice president because the PET will rule only on the initial recount in the three pilot provinces which involve 5,415 election precincts.

    The initial recount was completed this year. The PET will decide on whether to proceed with the vote revision on 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in election protest.

    The results of the revision process are contained in a report submitted to the tribunal last month by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the justice in charge of the case.