MANILA, Philippines – The camp of defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr had harsh words for his rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, claiming it was she who stole the post because of her "political ambition" and as part of a "despicable" plan by the Liberal Party (LP).
Robredo had warned of an alleged plot to oust her and "steal" the vice presidency, a plot which she said has been "set into motion." The Vice President emphasized this as she officially resigned from the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is close to Marcos. (READ: Robredo: Not a time for fear, but a time for courage)
"Whether she was fired or she resigned from her post is definitely not the business of former senator Bongbong Marcos. However we take strong exception to her statement on not letting the vice presidency to be 'stolen' from her and the will of the people to be 'thwarted.' Such pronouncement is the height of hypocrisy," said Marcos' lawyer Vic Rodriguez in a statement on Monday, December 5.
"The vice presidency has indeed been stolen and it was stolen by no less than Mrs Robredo herself and the political party she continuously supports," added Rodriguez, referring to the once-ruling LP.
"It was they who thwarted the will of the Filipino people by depriving them of their real choice for the vice presidency."
Marcos had filed an electoral protest against Robredo last June 29, on the eve of her oath-taking, claiming that there was poll fraud. Robredo had defeated Marcos by just 263,473 votes.
Robredo, however, argued that Marcos' electoral protest is baseless. (READ: Robredo replies: Why SC should dismiss Marcos Jr's protest)
Last month, the Robredo camp had expressed alarm over rumors that the country would "have a new VP" by early 2017, supposedly through a recount that would be conducted "without the direction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal." (READ: Marcos to Robredo: Why are you afraid of vote recount?)
LP seeking to oust Duterte?
Marcos' camp has also been insisting that the LP would try to oust Duterte so Robredo could take his place.
Rodriguez on Monday claimed Robredo "has just shown her true colors."
"Her departure from the Cabinet has nothing to do with the election protest but has everything to do with her political ambition and that of her party's desperate and despicable act of getting back into power," Rodriguez said.
"Long before the May 2016 elections, we were the first ones to reveal the Liberal Party's 'Plan B' which was to rob Senator Marcos of the vice presidency, install Mrs Robredo in his stead and eventually work for the ouster of President Duterte. It is obvious that 'Plan B' is now in full swing."
Her resignation from the Cabinet, she also said on December 4, was due to the executive branch's apparent lack of support for housing initiatives and the President's order that she stop attending Cabinet meetings – "the last straw."
The President has also been open about his personal ties to the Marcoses. While his late mother led the anti-Marcos movement in their hometown of Davao City, his father once served in the Marcos Cabinet. Duterte also previously said that Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, the eldest among the Marcos siblings, contributed funds to his campaign. The governor said Duterte was just kidding. (READ: Luneta protesters to Duterte: End alliance with Marcos family)
In his recent state visit to China, Duterte also "joked" that the country would have a new vice president if Marcos wins his electoral protest. – Rappler.com