MANILA, Philippines – Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal has dared former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr to commit in writing that he would drop his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo if it is not proven that SD cards were used to commit poll fraud in 2016.
“We challenge former senator Bongbong Marcos to enter into a written agreement that if his and his lawyer’s claimed ‘massive election fraud’ based on alleged data from 13 SD cards being decrypted by the Comelec is not proven, then Marcos should withdraw his election protest against our client,” Macalintal said.
He said Marcos’ lawyer, Vic Rodriguez, should commit to quit law if the allegation is disproved.
For his part, Macalintal said he is willing to quit the legal profession if the allegation is proven to be true.
“If the verification and examination of these 13 SD cards by the Comelec or concerned agencies proved the existence of such ‘massive fraud’ which favored Robredo and caused the defeat of Marcos, then I am also willing to surrender to the Supreme Court my license to practice law and will withdraw as lawyer of Robredo,” Macalintal said.
Macalintal urged Rodriguez to file a joint manifestation with him before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to suspend the examination of the SD cards until they sign a written agreement on the challenges he posed.
“I believe this is the best and most suitable way to put an end to this controversy and for the entire electorate and the Filipino people to find out who is telling the truth – Marcos or Robredo – regarding the alleged data found on these 13 SD cards,” he added.
The Marcos camp claims that data found in some SD cards retrieved from supposedly unused vote-counting machines (VCMs) would prove its allegation of “massive fraud” in the 2016 elections, particularly in the vice presidential race.
(READ: VP race: Marcos camp insinuates cheating as Robredo grabs lead)
Marcos has a pending protest against Robredo, accusing her and the Liberal Party of cheating in the 2016 elections.
Macalintal said the decryption process is not yet complete, so no one knows the nature of the files in the SD cards. He added that winning the case filed before the Supreme Court (SC) acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), does not involve the said SD cards.
Rodriguez, who is also Marcos’ legal spokesperson, claimed that whatever the contents of the memory cards are, the fact that the unused election paraphernalia contained data proved a tampered election system. He also deemed as “suspicious” the Comelec’s supposed failure to open the contents of the cards subject to decryption, on Monday.
The Marcos camp is set to file a motion before the Supreme Court to order the Comelec to explain regarding the matter.
During the decryption activity, the Marcos camp claimed that 13 SD cards out of the 26 unused ones contain folders of data in them.
These cards are among the 127 SD cards that were identified to have contents during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs in October last year. The remaining 101 cards were spared from decryption because they are covered by defeated senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino’s election case. – Rappler.com