Marcos camp to Robredo: Congratulations

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr congratulated Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, who officially won as vice president Friday evening, May 27.

"Congratulations, at well, siyempre 'yung paghahanap namin ng katotohanan at paghahanap namin ng boto ni Senator Bongbong Marcos ay hindi natatapos sa canvassing na ito," Marcos lawyer George Garcia said Friday, when asked for a message to the incoming vice president.

(Congratulations, and well, of course our search for truth and our search for the votes of Senator Bongbong Marcos doesn’t end with this canvassing.)

Robredo defeated Marcos by more than 263,400 votes based on the final, official tally by Congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers. (READ: Robredo wins as VP on late husband's birthday)

Still, Garcia said their camp is studying the possibility of filing an election protest against Robredo’s victory. Losing bets file election protests after the winning candidates have been proclaimed.

One of the factors being considered by the Marcos camp is the cost of filing an election protest. 

"Medyo magastos yan," Garcia said. (That’s expensive.)

Garcia said an election protest could cost at least P30 million to 50 million* ($642,700 to $1.07 million) to examine votes in 12 to 15 provinces.

Marcos won't block Robredo proclamation

During the 3-day canvassing of votes in Congress, the main issue raised by Marcos' camp is having more than 3 million "undervotes" that, according to them, remained "unaccounted for."

Robredo's camp, however, said it is normal to have undervotes in any elections. A co-chair of the joint canvassing comittee, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, also dismissed having undervotes as a "non-issue" during canvassing.

The Marcos camp, however, is not considering blocking Robredo’s proclamation as the Philippines’ next vice president. The proclamation is seen as early as Tuesday, May 31.

"Sabi ko nga po sa inyo, kung gusto lang namin i-delay ang nangyaring proseso, napakadali naman po e. I’ll just stand up there. I’ll just filibuster, at magre-raise ako ng kung ano-anong objection," he said.

(As I told you, if we wanted to delay the process, it’s very easy. I’ll just stand up there. I’ll just filibuster, and I will raise all kinds of objections.)

"Pero hindi po namin ginawa," he said. (But we didn’t do it.) "We respected the process. We respected the members of the board, and we respected the will of the Filipino people that we should already have a president and vice president to proclaim."

Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, told reporters in a separate interview they will be ready for a possible election protest from the Marcos camp. 

Macalintal said: "Bahala sila sapagka't sila ang nakakaalam kung dapat silang magprotesta o hindi. Pero kung ano man ang kanilang gagawin, siyempre ihahanda namin ang aming sarili kung sakaling kami pa rin ang kukunin ni Mrs Robredo in the event na magkaroon ng election protest."

(That’s their call because they know best if they need to file a protest or not. But whatever they will do, of course we will prepare ourselves in case Mrs Robredo will still get us in the event that there’s an election protest.) – Rappler.com

*$1 = P46.67

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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