PET issues gag order on Marcos, Robredo poll protests

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2018 05:06 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2018 07:30 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has ordered the camps of Vice-President Leni Robredo and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to refrain from discussing their respective poll protests in public. 

The tribunal issued the order last February 13, as it called on both parties to observe the sub judice rule in light of the impending start of the recount of votes. The sub judice rule prohibits public discussion of cases pending before the courts. 

“[C]onsidering that the revision process is about to commence, the Tribunal directs both protestant (Marcos) and protestee (Robredo) to observe the sub judice rule,” the resolution stated.

The manual recount of votes will begin on March 19 and will first cover Marcos’ three pilot provinces namely, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

Both camps have been holding press conferences and issuing statements to the media pertaining to the protests. 

Lawyer Beng Sardillo, legal counsel of Robredo, said the vice-president's camp will abide by the tribunal's order.

"As we have always done, we will fully abide by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s latest order," Sardillo said.

Sardillo added that the PET has noted the filing of Robredo's motion to withdraw all pending motions before the PET while Marcos has not done so.

Marcos lost to Robredo in the May 2016 vice-presidential race by 263,473 votes. 

His election protest alleges that there was massive vote-buying, pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, a script change in the transparency server that allegedly altered the results in the VP race, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of vice-president.

Robredo has a pending counter-protest, also with the PET.