By Evelyn Macairan, October 4 2019; Philippine Star

Image Credit to Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin yesterday refused to confirm or deny that the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), would likely vote 8-6 in favor of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and defeat Vice President Ma. Leonor Robredo in the vice presidential race in 2016.

Bersamin was reacting to the column of Federico Pascual in The STAR titled “It’s 8-6 for Marcos in PET first round,” wherein the columnist wrote that the tribunal is “likely to deliver to ex-Sen. Bongbong Marcos.”

“I do not know. You ask the columnist what her or his basis. I cannot confirm or deny that because he must know more than I do, that’s the bad part about it. There is no definite voting yet or anything that happened in that particular case,” Bersamin said.

In coming up with the possible PET vote turnout, Pascual considered those SC justices who retired and would soon be retiring. SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza retired last Sept. 26, while Bersamin would step down on Oct. 18 and SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio would end his term on Oct. 26.

Pascual pointed out it will be President Duterte – who has reportedly “shown preference for Marcos over Robredo” – who would fill up these three vacancies.

Bersamin said he has not yet checked if the PET case of Marcos vs. Robredo is scheduled for deliberation on Oct. 8.

The Chief Justice, during the last few weeks before his scheduled retirement on Oct. 18, had to attend to official trips overseas and locally and admitted that he has not yet finished reading the report submitted by justice-in-charge Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

“I am still halfway through. I have had a busy schedule the past two weeks or so and I always make sure that I look at the entire report,” said Bersamin.

When asked if the PET would issue a ruling on the case before he retires on Oct. 18, Bersamin said his retirement should not be used as a condition in determining when the tribunal should issue a ruling.

“My retirement does not demand from the other justices that we should act… any kind of case is bigger than any single justice,” he said.