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Sorry Bongbong: PET won’t let Caguioa out of poll protest

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It seems Supreme Court (SC) Justice Benjamin Caguioa wanted to grant the wish of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to be removed from handling the ex-lawmaker’s election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Cagiuoa has circulated an internal memorandum to his colleagues asking that he be removed as the designated ponente of the poll protest.

However, the SC, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has turned down Caguioa’s request and will continue to handle the case.

“Contrary to these reports, there has been no change in the management of PET Case No. 0005 as the request was denied unanimously,” confirmed the SC in a statement Monday (August 20).

Last August 6, Marcos filed a motion asking the PET to have Caguioa inhibited “on the ground of evident bias and manifest partiality in favor of protestee Maria Leonor G. Robredo.”

“Associate Justice Caguioa cannot deny that he is biased towards the ‘yellow brigade given his close ties with his friend and former boss, former President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino, III,” read his motion.

“It is public knowledge that Noynoy Aquino had nothing but harsh words to say about protestant Marcos and would verbally criticize him and his family before, during, and even after the May 2016 elections. He practically used his office to convince the voting public not to vote protestant Marcos as Vice-President,” he pointed out.

The former lawmaker reminded that Caguioa is Aquino’s classmate during grade school and was appointed by the former President first as chief presidential legal counsel, then as justice secretary, and, lastly, as SC justice.

Marcos also cited Viber chat group conversations which became viral and even got reported by Radyo Inquirer.

“The Viber messages reveal that Mrs. Caguioa was and still is an ardent supporter of protestee Robredo and even actively campaigned for the latter when she ran against protestant Marcos in the My 2016 elections,” he complained.

Marcos said “it would be unfair and unjust for the other members of the esteemed Tribunal to be tainted by the impropriety of Associate Justice Caguioa.”

“In light of the clear and convincing evidence of bias, partiality and prejudice exhibited by Associate Justice Caguioa and Mrs. Caguioa in favor of protestee Robredo, the continued presence and participation of Associate Justice Caguioa as the ponente of the above-entitled case in gross violation of the undersigned protestant’s Constitutional right to due process of law,” he stressed.