Robredo on why Calida sided with Bongbong: ‘He’s No. 1 Marcos supporter’

Mara Cepeda
Robredo on why Calida sided with Bongbong: ‘He’s No. 1 Marcos supporter’
Vice President Leni Robredo says Solicitor General Jose Calida should have just represented his client, the Commission on Elections, on the 50% ballot-shading threshold issue

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo was not surprised Solicitor General Jose Calida favored ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s position on the 50% ballot-shading threshold in the electoral protest he filed against her. 

The Vice President called Calida – who dropped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the case to favor Marcos – her rival’s top supporter. 

Ako, alam nating lahat – alam ko, alam ninyo – na si Calida ay ‘di lang Marcos apologist, pero number one na Marcos supporter (All of us know – I know it, you know it – that Calida is not just a Marcos apologist, he’s the number one Marcos supporter),” said Robredo on Tuesday, July 10.

Pero sa akin, ‘yung papel niya sa PET case [ay] ‘di naman bilang party; ‘yung papel ng kanyang opisina [ay] bilang abogado ng Comelec. At dahil hindi naman hinihingi ang kanyang personal na pakiramdam tungkol sa bagay na ‘yan, sana nire-represent niya ‘yung interes ng kanyang kliyente, na ‘yun ‘yong Comelec,” added the Vice President.

(But for me, his role in the PET case is not as a party; his role is to be the lawyer of the Comelec. And because he was not being asked about his personal feelings on the issue, he should have just represented the interest of his client, which is the Comelec.) 

On July 4, Calida filed a manifestation with the Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), backing the 50% ballot shading threshold in the ongoing recount for the election case Marcos filed against Robredo. 

Calida’s view favors Marcos, who is refuting Robredo’s appeal for the PET to lower the ballot shading threshold at 25% or to count as valid votes ovals at least 1/4 shaded in the ballots. The Vice President argued 25% was the threshold set by the Comelec for the 2016 polls, but Marcos refutes this.

Calida is a known ally of the Marcoses. He was among the leaders of the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong which campaigned for the tandem of Rodrigo Duterte and Bongbong in the 2016 campaign. (READ: In charge of recovering ill-gotten wealth? But Calida is pro-Marcos)

Calida had also defended the government’s decision to give a hero’s burial to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong’s father, in 2016. 

This is not the first time a solicitor general did not take the side of the government in a case, however. 

Also in 2016, ex-solicitor general  Florin Hilbay did not side with the Comelec when it disqualified Senator Grace Poe to run for president. Instead, Hilbay sided with the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which overturned Poe’s disqualification and junked the poll body’s arguments she is not a natural-born Filipino. –

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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 or tweet @maracepeda.