After the Supreme Court released its decision enjoining the camps of Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to comment on it, both camps suddenly went on a media campaign overdrive, as if both are trying to court public opinion for their respective positions.
Why the initiative to put this upon the plate of the public? The case is now at the Supreme Court, specifically at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). Why the sudden bursts of propaganda from both camps, as if they are trying or are arguing before the public? Isn’t the PET the proper forum? Or these media initiatives are glimpses of possible initiatives to spur public support in case of an unfavourable judicial outcome?
It’s good that Outgoing Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin had the temerity to explain in very lucid terms what the Supreme Court, acting as PET, did. The issue pertains to the appeal of the camp of the Marcoses before the PET, that allegedly fraud happened last 2016 elections and the three pilot provinces cited by them, prove such. After filing this, the Marcos camp then filed another one, this time, asking the court to include several provinces more just to fish if there indeed, are votes fraudulently counted for Robredo.
Court sources say even if fraud is indeed discovered, and the PET counts all the contested votes in these provinces, there would still be several thousands of votes left in favour of Robredo. Meaning, these fraudulent votes are insufficient to declare Marcos Junior the winner over the VP electoral contest in 2016.
What several analysts probably failed to account is this– that this decision first issued by the Supreme Court over this poll protest which has been already in the news for at least three years already, is more of a moral rather than a judicial or legal issue. Moral in the sense, that is establishes that there is indeed fraud, and the protestee deserves some form or semblance of justice from the courts.
This explains why, I think, legal strategists from both sides went on propaganda overdrive–the protestee trying to convince us that he was cheated while the other one, desperately protecting her turf and convincing that she was the deserving winner. But the same question remains–why involve the general public over this patently highly political issue?
Two things come to mind: first, the possibility of a repeat battle between these two camps in 2022 and second, temperature checking on the extent, level and depth of support these camps have so that, when necessary, they can call these supporters over to bolster sympathy in case of a loss, and magnanimity in the event of a victory.