'New VP' in 2017? Robredo camp alarmed by 'recount'
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo expressed alarm over rumors that the country would "have a new VP" by early 2017.
In a statement on Sunday, November 20, Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said messages have been circulating about a supposed recount that would lead to the unseating of the Vice President.
One such message supposedly goes like this: "Recount of ballots from 4-5 provinces will start end of November and will finish by December, deliberations after. You can bet early next year, we have a new VP."
This recount, Hernandez said, would be "without the direction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal" or PET, which is handling the election protest filed by defeated candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr against Robredo.
"The objective is to steal the vice presidency from VP Leni," Hernandez said.
"This fear and grave concern [of Robredo's supporters] are exacerbated by the way the Marcoses sneaked the burial of the dictator from the Filipino public. To get what they desperately want, they have resorted to impunity and complete disregard for the rule of law," she added, referring to the hero's burial for Marcos' father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which caught the nation by surprise.
Hernandez urged the public "to be more vigilant about any extralegal movements during this dark time in our history."
In the vice presidential race last May, Robredo got 14,418,817 votes during the official canvassing, while Marcos received 14,155,344 – a difference of just 263,473 votes.
The former senator filed the election protest against Robredo on June 29, seeking a recount of votes in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and 5 highly urbanized cities.
Marcos also wants the nullification of votes in the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur, where he claims there was massive cheating.
Last October, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte brought up Marcos' election protest, saying the former senator would be the new vice president if the PET rules in his favor.
Robredo's spokesperson on Sunday maintained that Marcos' allegations of poll fraud are baseless. (READ: Robredo replies: Why SC should dismiss Marcos Jr's protest)
"We continue to have faith in our judicial system and we believe that any decision will be based on truth," said Hernandez. – Rappler.com