Leni unfazed by Bongbong’s election protest
Vice President Leni Robredo is not bothered by the election protest filed by her defeated opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., her lawyer said on Thursday, arguing that the complaint appeared directed more at poll officials than her.
“It will never affect the proclamation of Ms Leni Robredo,” Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s counsel on election matters, told reporters on the sidelines of her inauguration in Quezon City.
He said the complaint filed by the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos did not constitute a real election protest against the former Camarines Sur representative. Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos by some 260,000 votes, and was Thursday sworn in as the country’s second highest official.
“First and foremost, Marcos said [his complaint] has three parts: first, he complained that Smartmatic and Comelec [Commission on Elections] bought vote-counting machines that are not dependable—that’s a complaint against Smartmatic and Comelec of which the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has no jurisdiction,” Macalintal said.
“Second, Marcos said part of the protest was vote buying and intimidation. These are election offenses which should be filed before the law department of Comelec especially since there was never an allegation it was Leni Robredo who did the vote buying,” he said.
“Third, failure of elections is not the jurisdiction of PET. Failure of elections is the jurisdiction of the Comelec en banc,” he added.
Macalintal said the petition “cannot stand” against Robredo, saying it was a petition against Smarmatic, Comelec and Smartmatic officials.
He also dismissed allegations of fraud over precincts where Marcos received zero votes, noting that there were also 133 clustered precincts where Robredo tallied zero votes.
“Marcos got 68,000 in those areas where Robredo got zero. Did we complain that she got zero?” Macalintal said.