Robredo ‘hopeful’ amid possible decision on Bongbong’s electoral protest
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is hoping for a favorable decision on the electoral protest lodged by former Senator Bongbong Marcos, in view of expectations that the Supreme Court (SC) might release its decision on Tuesday.
“We cannot speak ahead of the court’s decision and I can’t discuss the case’s merits, but we hope for a favorable decision considering that we know what happened during the entire process,” Robredo, who was attending the 14th National Convention on Statistics in Pasig City, said in an ambush interview.
The SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is handling Marcos’ protests. He ran against Robredo in the last 2016 Presidential elections, losing by less than 220,000 votes.
Last September 6, Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said that the SC would release a report on the electoral protest soon.
Robredo said she is hoping that the court can resolve the issue soon, implying that certain camps have been using it to propagate lies about the recount.
“Actually we have been waiting for the decision to come out, in fact, a few months ago we already filed a motion asking the court to act on it, because the recount has been finished already,” she explained.
“As I have said in the past, as long as the case is pending, there is a platform for them to spread propaganda which most of the time is fake news. So we hope it is decided upon,” she added.
In his protest filed in June 2016, Marcos said Robredo’s victory had been the “products of electoral frauds, anomalies and irregularities,” as his votes were altered to make it appear that he lost to Robredo.
The two camps also fought over the shading threshold — or the amount of shade a ballot gets before it is considered a valid vote. Robredo’s camp sought for a 25 shading threshold, which SC eventually adopted.
Importance of the case
Robredo underscored the importance of the case, as it puts to test the country’s electoral system.
“This is a test, it is not just a fight between the two of us. This is a test of the entire electoral process, a test of the justice system, so the main issue here is bigger than both of us that’s why it is important,” she explained.
“This is the electoral process that said President [Rodrigo Duterte] won the elections, this is the same process that pronounced incumbent official as winners. If we do not believe in the system, then it is like saying the officials won erroneously,” she added.
The Vice President noted that she still trusts the system, although she admitted that there are concerns about claims of victory from the Marcos side.
“If we look at the propaganda of the Marcos camp, they are already claiming victory, claiming that the justices would side with them. But for us, we have to trust the justice system and wait for the PET’s decision,” Robredo said.
“The decision would be based on the data generated from the process, so we do not see an unfavorable decision. But of course, we are also worried because they are claiming victory, maybe they know something that we don’t,” she added.
In 2016, Robredo was former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ running mate, while Marcos ran with late ex-senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Duterte has openly expressed his admiration for Marcos and his father, late strongman and former President Ferdinand Marcos.
In two separate instances in October 2016 and August 2018, Duterte said that the younger Marcos could be the country’s vice president, even hinting that he might step down if Marcos wins the protest. /jpv
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