Lawyer: Cabinet post for Marcos an admission of defeat
That was how election lawyer Romulo Macalintal described any move by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to accept a Cabinet position while contesting the victory of Rep. Leni Robredo in the vice presidential race.
Macalintal said Marcos’ acceptance of a Cabinet post under the Duterte administration after the one-year ban on appointments of defeated candidates would be an admission that he lost to Robredo.
The seasoned election lawyer said it would show the weakness of any election protest Marcos might file against Robredo.
Macalintal is the counsel of Robredo. who ran alongside former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Both ran as candidates of the Liberal Party.
“The ‘one-year ban’ applies only to election losers. Thus, for Marcos to wait for it is an acknowledgment of having lost in the 2016 election for vice president,” Macalintal said in a statement.
Over the weekend, Marcos said he was preparing an electoral protest against Robredo and the Liberal Party for “shamelessly” conducting “institutional” cheating to win the vice presidential race. Robredo won by about 260,000 votes.
Marcos also hinted at the possibility of joining Duterte’s Cabinet after he met with the President-elect in Davao City last Friday.
If Marcos believes that there is strong evidence to prove that there were irregularities in the vice presidential race, Macalintal said the outgoing senator should be focusing on the election protest and not seek a position lower than the vice presidency.
“To accept a Cabinet position while his election protest is pending will mean political suicide for Marcos,” he said.
Macalintal said Marcos would just waste close to P100 million for his protest as it would eventually be dismissed “since the consequence of accepting said Cabinet post is abandonment and withdrawal of his election protest for VP post.”
The lawyer also likened Marcos’ protest to the dismissal of the 1998 presidential election protest Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed against former President Fidel Ramos when she ran and assumed the office of senator while her protest was pending.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) held that Santiago’s election protest “has been rendered moot and academic by its abandonment or withdrawal by (Santiago) as a consequence of her election and assumption of office as Senator and her discharge of the duties and functions thereof.”
“To reiterate, Marcos’ election protest will also be rendered moot and academic because, like in Santiago, Marcos’ protest is deemed abandoned and withdrawn as a consequence of his appointment and assumption of office and his discharge of the duties and functions of said Cabinet position,” Macalintal said./rga
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