Marcos lawyer: Votes gained by Robredo in recount proof of 2016 poll flaws
MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s lawyer on Wednesday stressed that the reported 15,000 votes gained by Vice President Leni Robredo in the vote recount in three provinces is proof that irregularities marred the 2016 elections.
“Try to imagine, even if there was an increase on the part of the Leni camp and whatever amount on the Bongbong Marcos votes, take note, there was an increase and therefore the computers, the machines did not function properly as promised,” said Atty. George Garcia in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
The Robredo camp, citing internal records, earlier claimed that her lead in the vice presidential race even grew by 15,000 after the recount of votes in Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental, and Iloilo.
The three provinces were chosen for vote recount by Marcos in his electoral protest, since he believed these are areas that had the most number of irregularities.
Garcia explained that the additional figures that differed from the official results of the 2016 national elections would justify going through the rest of the electoral protest, which includes Marcos’ demand to nullify election results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur on the ground of terrorism, alleged intimidation and harassment of voters, and pre-shading of ballots.
“There was an increase, so they are saying therefore that the machines did not function properly. So what we are saying is that is the irregularity. That is the fraud to justify going to the remainder of the protest,” said Garcia.
He added these figures claimed by Robredo’s camp are also “presumptuous” since the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has yet to release the official results of the initial recount.
Atty. Emil Marañon III, one of the lawyers of Robredo, said the camp of the Vice President is banking on two grounds for the PET to dismiss the electoral protest: Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules, and their claim that the lead of Robredo over Marcos increased in the initial recount.
“We are very confident that with these two facts and ‘yung law, the case should be dismissed,” he said. “The rule is clear. Dapat i-dismiss ito ng Korte Suprema (The Supreme Court should dismiss this).”
Robredo has been arguing that Rule 65 of the PET Rules would lead to the dismissal of the electoral protest, if official figures will show that Marcos failed to gain substantial recovery after the initial recount in the three pilot provinces.
Marañon said that the Marcos’ camp should have asked the PET to conduct technical examination on the elections in the three ARMM provinces instead of the pilot provinces it chose for the recount.
“In other words, hindi ‘yun ‘yung pinili mo which for you best exemplifies your allegations of fraud and irregularities. Ang nangyayari ngayon is because wala kang nakita doon sa pinili mo, maghahanap ka ulit ng iba pang probinsya. But this defeats the purpose of Rule 65 (In other words, you did not choose [the three provinces] which for you best exemplifies your allegations of fraud and irregularities. What is happening now is because you didn’t see anything in the areas you chose, you will look for other provinces. But this defeats the purpose of Rule 65), he said.
“This case will rise and fall in Rule 65,” he added.
Garcia, however, said that even the term “substantial recovery” in the said rule is not even clearly defined and must be carefully examined by the PET.
He then added that “anything other than dismissal is a victory for the Marcos camp.”
Marañon, on the other hand, said that “anything other than dismissal is not good” for the camp of Robredo. /gsg
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.