Vice President Leni Robredo believes it’s about time the electoral protest filed against her by former Senator Bongbong Marcos is dismissed.
“Tapos na ‘yung eleksyon, pinroclaim tayo ng Kongreso… Nagkaroon ng recount, panalo ulit tayo. Ilang panalo pa ang kailangan para maniwala siya (Marcos) na hindi siya nanalo?” Robredo said in a media briefing on Tuesday.
[Translation: The election is over, we have been proclaimed by Congress. We also won the recount. How many wins are needed for Marcos to accept defeat?]
The Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal has yet to vote on the poll protest, which has been pending for more than three years under three different Chief Justices. The high court instead ordered on Tuesday the release of the result of the recount in the polling precincts chosen by Marcos himself: in Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur which is Robredo’s bailiwick. Robredo earlier claimed that her lead grew by 15,000 after the recount.
Marcos’ camp now wants to nullify votes in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan over “massive fraud,” a move Robredo heavily criticized.
“Parang ang sinasabi niya ngayon wala akong substantial recovery doon sa tatlo pero pwede bang isama itong another three (provinces)?” Robredo said.
[Translation: It seems like he’s admitting I don’t have substantial recovery in those three areas but can we include three more provinces?]
This will go against the rules of the PET, Robredo said. Rule 65 states that a protestant should choose for recount not more than three provinces “best exemplifying the frauds or irregularities alleged in his petition.”
Marcos lodged an electoral protest against Robredo on June 30, 2016, questioning the results of the May 2016 presidential polls. Robredo was proclaimed vice president after clinching a lead of 263,473 votes against Marcos.
Marcos: Fight not over
Both Robredo and Marcos are claiming victory in the Supreme Court’s decision to defer a vote and disclose result of the recount instead.
Robredo is confident that once the result is released, the only “acceptable” decision will be to junk Marcos’ case.
Marcos, on the other hand, rejoices that his case was not dismissed outright.
“Buhay ang kaso and it continues. Ipaglalaban pa rin natin hanggang sa lahat ng ebidensya na gusto nating ipakita sa tribunal ay maipakita natin,” Marcos told reporters in a chance interview.
[Translation: The case is still on and it continues. We will continue to fight until we present all evidence to the tribunal.]
He lamented the lengthy process in deciding on his electoral protest.
“It is not advantageous to our electoral system, our voters, our political system, the entire state that we wait for this long for this important a decision,” he said.
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin earlier assured that members of the bench were not dragging their feet in resolving the poll protest, with less than three years left in the Vice President’s term.
Marcos insisted he should have been serving as second highest official of the country since 2016.
“By conducting the cheating in the election, they robbed the proper Vice President who won the election – myself – from the three years of service,” Marcos said of Robredo’s camp.
Robredo in a separate event took swipe at Marcos.
“Parang dapat hindi niya kaya yung sabihin kasi between the two of us, alam kong hindi ako ‘yung robber,” Robredo said.
[Translation: I think he should not have the guts to say that because between the two of us, I know I’m not the robber.]
Marcos and his family have refused to admit guilt on corruption and human rights abuses, allegedly committed under the two-decade term of his father, late President Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos family is accused of plundering billions of dollars from government coffers. Despite pending cases, the Marcos family remains in power, keeping a tight grip on Ilocos Norte and holding a seat in the Senate with the election of Senator Imee Marcos.