SC is considering dropping Caguioa as ponente in the Marcos-Robredo case

Sunday October 20, 2019 ()

The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is considering replacing Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as the ponente in the election protest case filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, sources said.

Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa

Well-placed sources told The Manila Times that after an overwhelming majority of magistrates rejected Caguioa’s draft ruling recommending the dismissal of the poll protest, a new ponente will likely be appointed.

“The new ponente shall come from the majority after Ben (Caguioa) became the dissenter to the case,” the source said.

Only Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio supported Caguioa’s proposal.

Last week, 11 justices moved to set aside Caguioa’s ponencia.

The tribunal instead decided to release to the camps of Marcos and Robredo the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three pilot provinces and required them to submit their comments.

The two parties were also ordered to submit memoranda on the matters relating to the third cause of action, which is the annulment of election results for vice president in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao, within a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice.

Caguioa wanted to dismiss the Marcos protest outright without proceeding to the next stage, which is to determine if “fraud” was indeed committed during the vice presidential race.

Marcos, who lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, accused her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes.

Dismiss

On Sunday, Robredo’s camp reiterated its call to the PET to junk the election protest because of Marcos’ failure to show substantial recovery of votes in the three pilot provinces.

Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s legal counsel, said from the data culled from the PET’s resolution on October 15, Robredo gained 17,520 votes from the three pilot provinces that were chosen by Marcos. The former senator, meanwhile, recovered 2,427 votes.

Macalintal added that the figures “prove that Robredo won in the recount of votes and gained substantial recovery from the three pilot provinces Marcos chose for the initial determination of the merits of his protest pursuant to Rule 65 of the PET Rules.”

Rule 65 allows the PET to dismiss the election protest if there had been no substantial recovery.

“While the rules mandates that a [protester], like Marcos, should make ‘substantial recovery’ from his pilot provinces, the above facts and figures show Marcos’ dismal and miserable failure to make any ‘substantial recovery.’ On the contrary, it was Robredo who made an overwhelming substantial recovery, which justifies the opinions of PET members, Justices Antonio Carpio and Alfredo Caguioa, to dismiss the election protest of Marcos,” Macalintal said in a statement.

He slammed claims of Marcos’ counsel Vic Rodriguez that Robredo did not know the details of Marcos’ election protest.

“Contrary to his claim, the PET resolution did not resolve ‘to proceed with Marcos protest.’ The PET is yet to study its merits after the parties have submitted their respective memoranda on various issues. The PET did not also ‘junk the Caguioa report,’ as it was the basis of the PET in holding in abeyance further proceedings in Marcos protest until the parties have submitted said memoranda,” Macalintal said.

He added that based on the results of the recount in the three pilot provinces, which supposedly best exemplified fraud, the remaining 27 unrevised provinces would yield less recovery.

Sources:


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