Marcos wants to ‘revise’ 2016 polls’ narrative, says Robredo

Mara Cepeda
Marcos wants to ‘revise’ 2016 polls’ narrative, says Robredo
(UPDATED) The Vice President's lawyer Romulo Macalintal also believes Bongbong Marcos will use the electoral protest for political mileage in the 2019 polls

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo said her rival Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is out to “revise” the story of the 2016 national elections with his recent allegation that ballot images from Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental indicate she had cheated during the polls.

On Wednesday, January 31, Robredo was asked to react to Marcos’ accusation that some ballot images from 12 towns in the two provinces showed she had colluded with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and vote-counting machine manufacturer Smartmatic. 

“Hindi ko na idi-discuss iyong details, kasi sa mga abogado ito. Pero iyong nakakapag-alala lang, tila may plano. Tila may plano na – pareho ng pag-revise ng history – parang ni-re-revise din iyong kuwento. Siyempre iyong ebidensya nasa balota,” Robredo told reporters in Naga, her home city.

(I will no longer discuss the details because that’s for the lawyers to explain. But what’s worrisome is that there seems to be a plan. There seems to be a plan to revise the story. Of course, the evidence will be found on the ballots.) 

Her lawyer Romulo Macalintal already cast doubts on the authenticity of the ballot images Marcos had publicized.

The Vice President then reiterated she wants the ballot recount for Marcos’ electoral protest to be finished soon, as it would prove she won the elections fair and square. (READ: Robredo wants VP protest resolved so Marcos ‘won’t have space to lie’)

“Maraming propagandang lumalabas na hindi totoo. Kaya iyong nais talaga natin matapos na, para wala nang pagkakataon [si Marcos] na gumawa pa ng mga kasinungalingan,” said Robredo. 

(There’s plenty of fake propaganda coming out. That’s why we want this to be resolved so Marcos will no longer have the chance to tell more lies.)

Marcos using protest for 2019 bid? 

In a separate radio interview, Macalintal said he believes Marcos is making the fresh allegations because he knows his electoral protest is “bound to fail.”

Robredo’s lawyer thinks the defeated vice presidential bet will try to get political mileage out of the electoral protest for the 2019 senatorial polls. 

“Natatakot na ang kampo ni Mr Marcos sapagkat alam niya na walang patutunguhan ang kanyang protesta. Kaya ang ginagawa niya, gumagawa siya ng ganitong ingay at magagamit niya ito sa kanyang political propaganda sa darating na 2019 elections na kung saan tatakbo siyang senator,” Macalintal said. 

(The camp of Mr Marcos is afraid because they know his protest will go nowhere. That’s why he’s now making noise so that he can use it for his political propaganda in the upcoming 2019 elections, where he will run for senator.) 

“Kaya kami ay nananawagan na huwag na sanang gamitin itong bagay na ito, gamitin pa si Ms Leni Robredo sa kanyang hangarin na mag-top sa senatorial election sa 2019. Iyon ang patutunguhan ng kanyang protesta,” the lawyer added.

(That’s why we’re urging him not to use Ms Leni Robredo as a tool so that he’ll top the senatorial election in 2019. That’s where his protest is going.) 

Marcos already said he will not be running for senator, as he maintains he “already won as vice president.”

In a statement, Marcos’ lawyer Vic Rodriguez slammed Macalintal for doubting the veracity of the ballot images his client had presented.

“Mrs Leni Robredo is still at a loss on how to counter the damning evidence presented by former senator Bongbong Marcos that she has now, through [her] counsel, accused the former senator of tampering [with] the evidence,” said Rodriguez.

He added that the Vice President’s accusation, made through Macalintal, is equal to “dishonoring” the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as it was the source of their copies.

“Instead of viciously attacking the Tribunal, it would be best for Robredo and her counsel to instead provide a credible and direct answer [to] our exposé showing clearly how the election system was manipulated and robbed the Filipino people of their true will and mandate,” Rodriguez said. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.