Robredo replies: Why SC should dismiss Marcos Jr’s protest

Patty Pasion

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Robredo replies: Why SC should dismiss Marcos Jr’s protest
Vice President Leni Robredo says Ferdinand Marcos Jr has raised issues other than the results of the VP race, and failed to show proof to back up his claims

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, August 15, formally asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to dismiss the election protest filed against her by defeated candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Robredo cited “utter lack of merit” in Marcos’ protest and the “lack of jurisdiction of the PET,” as she said that Marcos questioned issues other than the results of the vice presidential election.

In her 536-page response, Robredo raised the following arguments:

  • Marcos complained about the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to lease vote-counting machines from Smartmatic“Surely, this could not be a ground to contest the election of Robredo since an election protest is a contest between two (2) candidates and not a case involving the problem between Comelec and Smartmatic.”
  • Marcos did not show evidence to support why election results must be nullified in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan. The Robredo camp said that for this to happen, it has to be proven that “more than 50% of the votes cast” in the province were tainted by fraud, and it must be proven that Robredo herself was responsible for the alleged cheating. Marcos, however, only cited “4 municipalities in Lanao del Sur, 1 municipality in Maguindanao, and 4 municipalities in Basilan,” and also did not show how the Robredo camp supposedly manipulated the votes.
  • The change in the server’s source code did not affect election results. “The Comelec already explained that the source code changes did not affect the data collected by the transparency server,” said Robredo, adding that “the NBOC did not use the data collected in the Comelec’s transparency server in the canvassing of the votes for President and Vice President, which came from the various vote counting machines all over the country.” (READ: Election data quash Marcos’ cheating pattern claim)

‘Not just Robredo’

In an interview with reporters, Robredo’s lawyer Bernadette Sardillo said Marcos, by questioning the Comelec’s conduct of the polls as a whole, wants the entire election nullified. This, Sardillo said, is beyond the scope of the PET.

“Ang hinihingi po ni Ginoong Marcos ay ipawalang bisa ang nangyaring eleksyon. Ang ibig sabihin po nito, hindi lang po ang pagka-proklama ni [Vice President] Leni ang mapapawalang bisa kundi ang lahat ng kandidato,” she said. 

(What Mr Marcos is asking is to nullify the entire election, which means Vice President Leni Robredo’s proclamation is not the only one that will be nullified, but also other winning candidates’ proclamations.)

“You cannot ask the tribunal to nullify the whole elections,” Sardillo stressed.

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 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.