Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, appointed member of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal-(PET)-in-charge, had earlier submitted a report on the recount that covered some 5,400 voting precincts in Iloilo, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, which losing vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos picked as three test provinces for revision and a recount.
Marcos claimed “massive cheating” that had caused him to lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race by some 260,000-plus votes.
It will be recalled that in the dead of night of the poll count by Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which had already shown Marcos winning over a million votes over Robredo, it suddenly stopped releasing the poll numbers.
In the morning, however, the big surprise was that Marcos seemed to have lost his millions while Robredo suddenly had millions of votes, and led Marcos by 263,473 votes.
It should also be recalled that some of the ballot boxes from the pilot provinces clearly showed that they were water-logged, along with other irregularities found.
All these were being reported in the media, until Caguioa clamped the two parties and their camps with a gag order.
Still, it was fairly evident that with so many irregularities earlier found, the small lead of Robredo certainly would have been logically overturned.
It was not surprising then that Justice Caguioa, an appointee of the yellow President and former Interior chief under the Aquino regime, and the ponente on this election matter, was largely seen as being biased in favor of proclaimed Vice President Leni Robredo.
Those who saw Caguioa as a yellow, then and now, and had suspected for long that he would decide in favor of a yellow candidate, weren’t too wrong as Caguioa’s copies of his draft decision earlier sent to Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and the 13 associate justices on Monday upheld the proclamation of Robredo. This may prove highly questionable to many, given the earlier irregularities reported during the recount and revision time.
Had the difference in the automated Smartmatic poll count been in the millions, there would not be too much suspicion, if Marcos had lost. But the loss was only over 260,000 votes and it cannot be denied that it was pretty suspicious that the count stopped suddenly and resumed in the early morning with at least a little over a million votes Marcos got all vanished with Robredo emerging with the million votes, edging out Marcos with over 264,000 votes.
Marcos accused Robredo 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 for the position of vice president.
It was also evident that another yellow, then Comelec chair Andy Bautista, was part of the Smartmatic cheating group, as only he had the second password for the machine, while Smartmatic had the other. The machine could not be tinkered with without the other password.
Bautista suddenly flew the coop and has not been seen since, as he is believed to now be enjoying the stolen money in the USA.
With all these irregularities that had occurred during the recount and revision and before the High Court clamped the gag rule on the two camps, it seemed highly suspicious that Caguioa, based on his report, as stated in another media outfit, had recommended the dismissal of the Marcos protest in favor of Robredo.
But not all is lost for Marcos.
A report bared that several SC justices were inclined to oppose the draft decision circulated by Justice Caguioa dismissing the poll protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leonor Robredo.
Based on sources, the SC, sitting as PET, will still be deciding on the Caguioa report and will be coming out with its final and official ruling.
This means that the case remains unresolved due to the differences of the SC justices’ opinions.
The report disclosed that while some justices concurred with Caguioa’s draft decision, others intend to file their objection. There were also some who also asked for more time to study Caguioa’s ponencia.
The yellows have been hoping for their yellow bet to emerge as the rightfully proclaimed vice president, as they seem to believe that happy days will be back for them, if not in 2022, then earlier, with the ouster of President Duterte, all of which, apparently, have been unsuccessful.
But the yellows shouldn’t uncork the champagne as yet. Not all the justices are in agreement with Caguioa — except perhaps just some of his yellow-stained colleagues.