(NOVEMBER 8, 2019) – The Supreme Court will issue a fair ruling on the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo, the country’s top magistrate said on Friday.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta maintained that he has always been objective in the performance of his duty, amid concerns raised on his impartiality in the poll protest. Prior to his post, Peralta penned the controversial ruling that allowed the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Bayani in 2016.
“As I said, I would decide the case, although I’m not the ponente, on the evidence and the law applicable. You can be assured of that,” Peralta told reporters in his first press briefing.
He also defended his vote in the Marcos’ burial case, saying it was the only decision where he favored the Marcoses.
“There is no law or even a resolution prohibiting the burial of a former president, so what shall we do? We cannot resolve cases based on public opinion,” Peralta said.
“We should base our decision on the evidence, the facts, and the law applicable,” he added.
The high court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), deferred to issue a decision in the poll protest and asked both parties instead to submit their comments on its findings concerning poll recount results in Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Camarines Sur.
The report showed that Robredo’s lead widened by around 15,000 votes after the revision and appreciation of ballots, or 278,566 votes from 263,473.
Marcos filed the protest in June 2016, saying the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) transparency server was compromised by the change in system hash code, which in effect allegedly affected the counting.
Robredo at the time was proclaimed vice president after garnering 14,428,817 votes against the ex-senator’s 14,155,344.
Comelec had denied Marcos’ claims, saying the hash code change was just “cosmetic,” intended to fix names with “ñ.”