Robredo lawyer to Marcos camp: Withdraw protest with VP’s drug czar appointment
MANILA, Philippines – The election lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo is urging the camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to withdraw the electoral protest, following the Vice President’s appointment as the government’s drug czar.
According to Romulo Macalintal, the graceful exit for Marcos would be to stop the protest — which would aid both Robredo in her task as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD); and the Supreme Court (SC) as it would relieve pressure on the justices.
SC is handling the case as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“Sa akin because of the very busy schedule of the Vice President, and the challenge she now faces, baka naman pwedeng si Mr. Marcos would act as a statesman […] baka pwede niya namang i-withdraw na yung protest,” Macalintal said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday.
“Hindi ko naman siya pinapangunahan pero it’s a gentlemanly act, hindi lang siya makakatulong kay Vice President Robredo, makakatulong din siya sa Supreme Court, maraming matutulungan si Ginoong Marcos,” he added.
However, Macalintal clarified that his statements are only his opinion and not the views of Robredo.
“‘Yon naman ay personal ko lang, it does not carry the opinion of the Vice President. Ako lang ay nagsasalita dahil para sa akin, ‘yon ang pinaka-magandang position na dapat gawin ni Mr. Marcos para ipakita ang pagtulong niya sa ating bansa,” Macalintal explained.
(That is my personal view, it does not carry the opinion of the Vice President. I just expressed my views because for me, this is the best position that Mr. Marcos should do to show his effort in nation-building.)
Office of the Vice President Spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said that while they support Macalintal, they do not want to preempt the choices and decisions of the Marcos camp. He also assured that Robredo is focused on her new task, and is not entertaining thoughts that the ICAD post ‘legitimizes’ her vice-presidential victory.
“Ako I always support si Romy Mac, siya ang lead lawyer ni VP doon sa kaso, pero ayaw ko kasing sa akin pa manggaling eh, baka sabihin tine-take advantage namin itong sitwasyon na ito para sa isang bagay na wala namang kinalaman,” Gutierrez added.
(For me, I always support Romy Mac, he is the lead lawyer of the VP in the case, but I don’t want it to come from me, because they might say that we are taking advantage of the situation.)
“Klarong-klaro from the start dapat inatras na nila ‘yan pero at the end of the day sila ‘yan […] ‘Yan ang pinaka-malayo sa isip ni VP Leni when she accepted the post. Sa kanya, ang importante dito may magawa siyang mabuti sa kampanyang ito,” he said.
(It was clear that they should have withdrawn it from the start, but at the end of the day it’s their choice. But that is far from the mind of VP Leni when she accepted the post. For her, what’s important is she can contribute something good to this campaign.)
Marcos filed an electoral protest against Robredo, after he lost to Robredo by a margin of around 280,000 votes. He claims that he was the victim of massive electoral fraud — although the results of the initial recount by SC showed that Robredo gained at least 15,000 votes.
Previously, Marcos’ lawyers said that the protest should continue even with the initial recount results, as they believe that the results of the previous elections cannot be relied upon — that there is a possibility of Marcos gaining more votes on other areas, especially in Mindanao provinces.
Robredo has busy as of late, after accepting President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to lead ICAD. In the past few days, the Vice President conducted meetings with ICAD member-agencies, civil society groups, and other stakeholders about changing an approach to the drug war. /muf
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