The Supreme Court (SC) has formally issued a gag order to camps of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo in connection with an electoral protest filed by Marcos against Robredo.
In a resolution, the SC en banc, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ruled that since a revision of the electoral protest is about to start, strict compliance with the sub judice rule must be observed.
“Considering that the revision process is about to commence, the tribunal directs both protestant and protestee to observe the sub judice rule,” it stated.
The ruling was dated February 13, 2018 and was signed and promulgated by Felipa Anama, Clerk of the Supreme Court.
The Manila Times earlier was able to publish the gag order that it had obtained from its sources in the High Court.
Allegedly massive cheating committed during the May 2016 elections was bared by Marcos through evidence discovered to favor Robredo.
According to Marcos counsel Vic Rodriguez, they already received a copy of the resolution of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and they will comply.
“Yes we have received our copy of the resolution. Essentially it is just a reminder from the [electoral]tribunal for the parties to observe the sub judice rule, which restricts litigants and their lawyers to make comments and/or disclosures on a pending judicial proceeding so that the case can be decided upon evidence presented before the court and the determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice and sympathies. Fair and accurate reporting of what actually took place in open court are excluded from its coverage,” Rodriguez said.
The electoral tribunal also ordered Marcos to comment on a motion filed by Robredo to “withdraw any and all pending motions which may delay recount proceedings.”
“Based on the records of this case, the [electoral ] tribunal finds that there are no such pending motions from protestee. Accordingly, the tribunal resolves to note the motion and require the protestant to submit his comment thereon and inform the tribunal if he intends to file a similar motion as that filed by protestee within 10 days from notice hereof,” it also ruled.
The PET is set to begin recount of votes from the May 2016 elections on March 19.
The former senator, son of late former President Ferdinand Marcos, has shown “solid and incontrovertible evidence of cheating” that he said his team had uncovered while going through the printed ballot images from the decrypted Secure Digital (SD) cards.
This include samples of questionable ballot images from two of his pilot provinces, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, which showed that votes for him were not counted and considered undervotes.