‘Sigh of relief’: SC dismissal of Marcos poll protest elates Robredo, OVP staff
Updated 12:33 a.m., Feb. 17, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — A big sigh of relief.
This was how Vice President Leni Robredo and the whole staff of the Office of the Vice President received the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissing the poll protest lodged against her by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In a press briefing streamed online on Tuesday evening, Robredo revealed they had been hearing rumors for weeks now about the PET’s handing down of its ruling on the case anytime soon.
“So many were saying in the previous days, the previous weeks, that something will come out. So weekly, we were on the lookout. So when it [the decision] finally came out awhile ago, we were still so surprised. And it was such a huge sigh of relief that the decision was unanimous,” Robredo told reporters in Filipino.
“That’s because we all knew the narrative that was being pushed, and the fact the decision was unanimous is a big thing that will let all of us move on,” she added.
[Original statement: “Marami na kasing sabi-sabi noong mga nakaraang araw, mga nakaraang linggo, na may lalabas. So kami, weekly, nag-aabang kami, so no’ng lumabas finally kanina sobrang gulat pa rin, at grabe ‘yong sigh of relief na unanimous ‘yong decision. Kasi alam naman natin kung ano ‘yong narrative na pinapalabas, and the fact na unanimous ‘yong decision malaking bagay ‘yon para maka-move on na tayong lahat.”]
Robredo said that even if the OVP strived to keep its focus on delivering its duties despite being under the shadow of the Marcos electoral protest, the PET decision was still a welcome comfort that provided them more motivation and determination to serve the people.
“Right from the start, even with the electoral protest, we have not allowed it to distract us from the more important work of serving our people. Maybe you’ve seen that, in spite of the case, we did not let it be a barrier to the work that we were doing,” she said.
“But the affirmation that we received from the PET today would allow us to focus more on the more important work of serving our people. This will all the more strengthen our activities and our helping others, especially in this time of extreme crisis,” she added.
[Original statement: “Mula naman no’ng umpisa kahit merong electoral protest, we have not allowed it to distract us from the more important work of serving our people. Nakita niyo naman siguro ‘yon na kahit nando’n ‘yong kaso, hindi natin hinayaan na maging hadlang siya sa trabahong ginagawa natin. But the affirmation that we received from the PET today would allow us to focus more on the more important work of serving our people. Lalo itong magpapalakas ng ating pagkilos at pagtulong, lalo na ngayong panahon ng matinding krisis.”]
Earlier, Marcos’ camp claimed that the PET decision was not yet final, asserting that it merely ruled on their second cause of action and not the whole petition. Marcos’ lawyer Vic Rodriguez said the PET has yet to dismiss their third cause of action in the poll protest.
Marcos lost to Robredo in the 2016 presidential elections by a slim margin of over 260,000 votes, with Marcos supporters raising doubts on the legitimacy of the election results. Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, then protested Robredo’s win and sought the recount of votes in three areas — Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
But the PET announced in October 2019 that after the recount, Robredo’s lead even grew by around 15,000 in the provinces questioned by Marcos.
In her statement, Robredo also thanked the PET for affirming the truth — that she had been elected rightfully as the country’s second-highest official.
Robredo also thanked her lawyers who worked on the cases, her supporters, and the Office of the Vice President staff whom she said, worked hard even with the countless issues and allegations thrown in relation to the electoral protest.
“Right from the start, I’ve always said — and our staff here at the OVP can attest to this — that at the end of all this it’s the truth that will prevail,” she said.
“We believed in the integrity of our election as Vice President. We believed in the process. We believed in the integrity of the justices in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. And we are very happy and grateful that this trust is affirmed,” she went on.
[Original statement: “Mula naman sa simula, parati ko namang sinasabi — at ito ay makaka-attest iyong ating mga staff dito sa OVP — na sa dulo ng lahat, katotohanan iyong mananaig. Naniwala tayo sa katotohanan ng ating pagkahalal, naniwala tayo sa proseso, naniwala tayo sa integridad ng mga mahistrado sa Presidential Electoral Tribunal and we are very happy and grateful that this trust is affirmed.”]
The Vice President, seen as the figurehead of the opposition, also advised her supporters to move on from the issue despite all the pain that they went through before PET decided on Marcos’s electoral protest.
“But now that this has been settled, what I am asking from everyone, especially our supporters, is to put this rancor behind us and let us move forward together. Our country is facing so many challenges right now,” she said.
“We are going through a lot of hardships. Let’s set aside, let’s set aside for the time being all those ill feelings. Let’s set aside our misunderstanding. Let’s set aside our quarrels because a lot of people are depending on us. So I am encouraging everyone to join hands. Let’s unify. Let’s focus on the work in front of us,” she added.
[Original statement: “Pero now that this issue has been definitely settled, ang hinihingi ko lang sa lahat, pati lalo na siguro sa supporters natin is to put this rancor behind us and let us move forward together. Maraming, maraming pinagdadaanan iyong ating bansa ngayon. Marami tayong kahirapan na pinagdadaanan. Isantabi muna natin. Isantabi muna natin iyong mga sama ng loob. Isantabi muna iyong mga hindi pagkakaintindihan. Isantabi muna iyong away kasi maraming umaasa sa atin. So ako, hinihikayat ko ang lahat na let us join hands. Let us unify. Let us focus on the work in front of us.]
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