Tribunal junks Marcos' motion for Justice Caguioa to inhibit in protest case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 3) —  The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), junked former Senator Bongbong Marcos' motion for Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa to inhibit from his poll protest case against Vice President Leni Robredo over a supposed political bias.

In the court resolution, the tribunal said it denied the motion due to utter lack of merit. It emphasized the lack of "clear and convincing evidence" of bias and partiality that would disqualify a judge from participating in a trial. 

"We have noted that the mere imputation of bias or partiality is not enough ground for inhibition, especially when the charge is without basis," the resolution read.

"The Court has to be shown acts or conduct clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before it can brand them with the stigma of bias or partiality."

 

The PET, in a resolution, also warned Marcos that "any unfounded and inappropriate accusation made in the future will be dealt with more severely."

Caguioa had requested a re-raffle and asked to be removed as member-in-charge of the protest case, but the tribunal denied it. In the resolution, the PET said a Justice "cannot withdraw from a case as a matter of convenience or as a means to avoid controversy."

Marcos filed before the high court last month an urgent motion asking for Caguioa's inhibition, pointing to his "close ties" with friend and former classmate, former President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III.

Marcos said Caguioa "cannot deny that he is biased with the yellow brigade." He had also claimed Caguioa's wife is a strong supporter of Robredo, and even campaigned for the Vice President in 2016.

Marcos said any type of due process would be meaningless "if the ultimate decision would come from a partial and biased judge."

In July, the court sided with Robredo's appeal and pushed for the 25 percent shading threshold in the recount of votes for the 2016 vice presidential race.

The PET had already commenced the manual vote recount last April.