‘SC can follow its rules or disregard them’
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal felt very confident that the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, would eventually trash the protest filed by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo in accordance with Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules.
On the basis of such rule, that protest was dismissible already, as Marcos failed to show any increment in the votes for him in the three pilot provinces where he had urged a recount. On the contrary, it resulted in a substantial increase in the votes for Robredo. It does seem cut and dried — if the PET follows its own rules.
Macalintal could still be in for a huge surprise. Let it be remembered that under the high court’s own rules, when a demurrer to the evidence filed by an accused is denied by the trial court, no review or appeal can be entertained by any appellate court, including the Court (Sec. 23, Rules of Criminal Procedure). But in the plunder case of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her lawyer (Estelito Mendoza) brazened out an
appeal to the Court after the Sandiganbayan denied her demurrer, finding “strong evidence of guilt” against her. The Court then ignored its own rule, reviewed the denial of the demurrer and proceeded to acquit Arroyo.
The inconvenient truth of the matter is, the Court can choose to follow its own rules or disregard them at will. That is really what it wants to say by being “supreme!” So Robredo’s camp can only do one thing: Pray.
REY C. ESCOBAR
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