Marcos, Robredo camps ordered to explain gag order violations

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has issued a show cause order for both former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo for allegedly disclosing sensitive information regarding the recount of the votes for the 2016 vice presidential race based on the protest case filed by the former.

Direct the parties to show cause and explain, within ten (10) days from receipt hereof, why they should not be cited in contempt for violating the Resolutions dated February 13, 2018 and March 20, 2018, the PET said in a five-page resolution dated April 10.

It will be recalled that both parties are holding their separate press conferences and discussing the issues at hand.

In a resolution dated Feb. 13, the tribunal ordered the parties to strictly observe the sub judice rule pending the proceedings of the instant case.

This was reiterated in another resolution dated March 20, 2018.

However, despite these stern directives of the PET, several news reports have shown that the parties, their counsels and/or representatives, have nonetheless continued to disclose sensitive information regarding the revision process to the public, in clear violation of the aforementioned resolutions.

To be sure, the statements of the parties with respect to matters or concerns already referred to or pending resolution of the Tribunal, as well as statements and remarks pertaining to the integrity of the revision process are within the clear ambit of the sub judice rule. In this regard, to preserve the sanctity of the proceedings, both parties are hereby directed to show cause and explain why they should not be cited in contempt by the Tribunal, it added.

Also in the same resolution, the PET denied Robredo's plea to direct the head revisors to apply the correct threshold percentage as set by the Commission on Elections in the revision, recount and reappreciation of the Ballots, in order to expedite the proceedings for lack of merit.

The PET said it could not determine yet when the recount would be finished.

The recount will be conducted Monday until Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with two 15-minute breaks and a one-hour lunch break.

The time limit per ballot box with less than 300 votes will be 5.5 hours while for 300-700 votes will be 8.25 hours and for more than 700 votes will be 11 hours.

During the revision, the head revisor will segregate and examine the contents of each ballot box and on the basis thereof, determine the number of votes received by each party.

At the same time, the party representatives will be allowed to claim and object to ballots, as they deem necessary. If the revision committee fails to comply with the time limit, they shall proceed to revise another ballot box and the parties shall be deemed to have waived their right to claim or object to the remaining ballots.

Once the recount on the first 1,400 ballot boxes is done, the PET will receive the other ballot boxes from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May that year.

In his protest, Marcos contested the results from 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clusters, covering 27 provinces and cities.

Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos' 14,155,344 votes. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency