SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019   •   211

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

Minority senators oppose PET ruling on Marcos electoral protest

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2019

(L-R) Former senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Minority Senators Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, and Kiko Pangilinan expressed strong opposition to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) on the electoral protest filed by former senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a statement, members of the Senate minority stressed that the case should be dismissed citing the progress of the recount which they said obviously revealed the victory of Robredo against Marcos in the 2016 Vice Presidential election.

“Isinagawa ang recount. Ang resulta: Lalo pang lumaki ang lamang ni VP Leni sa mga lugar na sinasabi ni Ginoong Marcos na dinaya siya, imbes na makitang bumaliktad ang resulta at mapatunayan ang kanyang paratang, lalo pang lumitaw ang katotohanan: Panalo si VP Leni,” the senators argued.

The opposition senators accused the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), of breaking its own rules for not acting appropriately on the matter.

“Ang dapat mangyari ngayon: I-dismiss na ang kaso. Tantanan na ang kasinungalingan. Tanggapin na ang katotohanang si Leni Robredo ang Pangalawang Pangulo ng bansa,” the statement said.

“Ngunit ang mangyayari ngayon, sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema: Pinapakomento ang dalawang panig sa isa pang petisyon ni Ginoong Marcos.” It added.

The minority senators sided with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio whose dissenting opinion stated that it was Robredo who received the most number of votes in the three areas personally picked by Marcos — Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Camarines Sur — where he claimed his votes were rigged.

On Tuesday (October 15), the SC ruled to release the result of the recount in three provinces concerned in Marcos’ poll protest.

The SC asked Robredo and Marcos to submit their comments on the results which they need to submit “within a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice” as announced by SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Peralta, Bernabe get top JBC votes in SC chief justice shortlist

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

Supreme Court Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta (L) and Estela Perlas-Bernabe (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Diosdado Peralta got top votes from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in its shortlist for the next chief justice.

According to a copy of the shortlist released by the SC’s Public Information Office on Tuesday, October 15, both Bernabe and Peralta got seven votes.

Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., meanwhile, got four votes from JBC members while Associate Justice Jose Reyes received one vote.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

The shortlist has been submitted by the JBC to Duterte for choosing.

Under the Philippine Constitution, Duterte has 90 days to pick the next SC top magistrate.

VP poll protest: SC allows release of pilot recount result from 3 provinces

Maris Federez   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of former senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday (October 15) once again staged a show of force in front of the Supreme Court (SC).

Both camps were expecting that the SC, which acts as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will release its decision on the preliminary recount report by Justice Benjamin Caguioa from the three provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Camarines Sur, in relation to the protest that Marcos filed against Robredo on the alleged massive cheating and anomaly in the 2016 vice-presidential elections.

However, the SC en banc session instead discussed about releasing the result of the pilot recount in the three pilot provinces.

With 11 – 2 votes, the tribunal has allowed the release of the report on the revision and recount in the said provinces.

“The tribunal has decided to release to the parties the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three provinces, and for them to comment thereon,” said SC spokesperson, Atty Brian Keith Hosaka.

Both Justices Antonio Carpio and Caguioa dissented the said resolution.

The PET also directed the two camps to submit their position, comments or disagreement over any issues presented in the preliminary report on the recount.

“The tribunal likewise required the parties to submit memoranda on the various issues relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the jurisdiction and other 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,” Hosaka said.

This has been the fourth time that the voting on the Caguioa report on the result of the initial recount has been suspended.

The voting will determine whether the High Court will continue to hear or dismiss Marcos’ protest. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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