By: Manuel “Boy” Mejorada
THE long-awaited Supreme Court ruling on the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos, Jr. caused some confusion among Filipinos who had expected something more definitive. Sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Supreme Court simply ordered the public disclosure of the initial recount and solicited comments from Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Pushed in the background was the decision of the majority of the Justices to deny the motion to dismiss the electoral protest filed by Robredo. Only two justices, Justices Benjamin Caguioa and Antonio Carpio, voted to grant the motion to dismiss. At the time of this writing, the report on the initial recount hasn’t been made public as yet. Perhaps the lawyers for both camps have already received their copies for them to comply with the PET order to file comments.
Even with this seemingly vague ruling, I can already say with confidence that the Supreme Court has favored Marcos. His electoral protest is very much alive, and the proceedings will likely tackle the election results for Vice President in the 2016 elections. It is a loud statement that the PET is convinced there was cheating and a recount could alter the results of the vice presidential race.
Marcos can only be happy with this ruling. While he knows that a clear[I1] -cut decision on who is the legitimate Vice President is not about to happen soon, he now stands on firm moral ground that his opponent, who had belonged to the ruling party at the time, had stolen the election from him. It is both frustrating and joyous. But then, Marcos still has around 32 months to obtain a reversal of the election results.
I guess this legal battle has turned into a struggle for advantage in the 2022 presidential elections.
Robredo is about the only feasible candidate for the opposition for the Presidency. Marcos is considered a strong candidate with possible backing from President Rodrigo Duterte. Hence, the results of the election protest can give either protagonist immense advantage in case they do run for President.
Of course, there could still be other candidates for President. Indeed, in our political system, it’s not really political parties that field candidates. Rather, those who file certificates of candidacy look for parties that would accommodate them. We are still so far behind in terms of political maturity as a nation, especially in the manner of electing our President.
But if the choice is going to be between the two of them, Marcos clearly enjoys the edge right now.
For one thing, the support of Marcos loyalists haven’t faded one bit despite the downfall of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Recently, the Marcos family has won a number of graft cases that somehow diminishes the image of a plundering family when their late father was still in power.
Robredo, on the other hand, has been marginalized. Her satisfaction ratings have consistently been far lower than that of President Duterte. There is little that is going for her. The Liberal Party is a sinking ship. She could not point to a bailiwick upon which she can count for solid support if and when she does run for President.