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PET issues show cause order against Robredo, Marcos camps for violating gag order

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Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo (right) and her rival in the 2016 vice-presidential contest, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. (left) — PHILSTAR

THE Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has directed the parties of Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. “to show cause and explain, within ten days… why they should not be cited in contempt for violating the Resolutions dated February 13, 2018 and March 20, 2018,” according to a PET statement released on Thursday.

In both resolutions, the parties were ordered “to strictly observe the sub judice rule pending the proceedings (of the election recount),” a statement by the SC said.

“In essence, the sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings… to preserve the impartiality of the judicial system by protecting it from undue influence,” according to the high court in G.R. No. 176389.

“However, despite these stern directives of the Tribunal, several news reports have shown that the parties, their counsels, and/or representatives, have nonetheless continued to disclose sensitive information regarding the revision process to the public,” the statement read further.

The revision, defined by the PET as the physical recount and tallying of the votes, started on Monday, April 2, with Mr. Marcos claiming several “irregularities.”

Chief among these were his claims of discovering excess ballots containing pre-shaded votes for Ms. Robredo retrieved from Camarines Sur, one of the three pilot regions Mr. Marcos chose which also included Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

There were also claims of wet ballots, cracked ballot boxes, and missing audit logs, as affirmed by Mr. Marcos’s spokesperson, lawyer Victor F. Rodrigues.

Ms. Robredo’s chief legal counsel, Romulo B. Macalintal, disputed these claims of irregularities. — Dane Angelo M. Enerio