WE respectfully address this editorial to the honorable justices of the Supreme Court to urge them to take swift and sure action to resolve with finality the long pending election protest on the result of the 2016 vice-presidential election, and thereby enable the nation to breathe with relief and the government to complete its structure of service.
The high court alone, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), can put an end to the interminable delays, and move the process forward.
The frustration of the people over this unfinished electoral exercise should be assuaged by the healing power of the Court’s majestic authority and wisdom.
Almost like convicts on death row, the contending candidates will dread the hour when the PET will declare unequivocally and finally that the vice-presidential election is over, and one candidate has clearly won.
But we should rather welcome the reality that resolution will be a relief to victor and loser alike, far more than the contending sides may realize now.
Delaying the tribunal’s action by endless legal maneuvers is patently the wrong strategy to follow, for the following reasons:
First, a strategy to delay will only put the onus of blame for stonewalling the proceedings on the one seeking to delay, instead of letting the responsibility lie with the PET, which has the authority in this case and the experience to handle public recriminations.
Second, delay of the proceedings will not avert the inevitable. It will not change the writing on the wall or the count of the ballots. The lawyers who are counseling their client to adopt the strategy of delay are probably even more terrified than their client of an unfavorable verdict, because of its possible impact on their legal practice and repute.
Third, all should be in no doubt that the public and the nation want this issue to be settled now, so that a fully legitimated Vice President can render constructive service to people and country. Whether we are for Leni Robredo or Bongbong Marcos, we all want this contest to end now, and the true and rightful winner to be proclaimed.
Fourth, the task facing the PET is a momentous one. It can bravely decide to tackle the issue head-on. Or it can slink away timorously to avoid the responsibility.
Avoidance is ignoble, a disservice to the nation. On the other hand, answering the call of duty will be indubitably honorable and praiseworthy.
The fact that the vice-presidency is umbilically linked by the people to destabilization plotting against the President ought to intensify the urgency of the PET’s hearing of the protest and recount of the vote. The nation will gain a measure of stability and calm from a clear and unchallenged verdict on the protested election.
Finally, we want to call the attention of our people to this hard reality:
The term of an elective office is short. When the VP protest is settled, the winner will have less than the full term to serve—perhaps at best less than five years to complete the term. The winner will need our good wishes and our goodwill in order to serve the nation honorably and well.
Let us therefore extend that goodwill freely and gladly.