Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – It’s been two months since Leni Robredo was proclaimed the winner of the vice presidential race but her battle with her chief rival for the post, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, is far from over.
The defeated son and namesake of the late strongman continues to “fight for truth” in the elections, with his protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) against Robredo over allegations of electoral fraud. This is coupled with a case filed against Smartmatic for breaching the election servers that might have caused the surge in Robredo’s votes during the unofficial canvassing.
The Vice President has this to say about her legal fight with the former senator: “I think Senator Marcos knows he lost the elections.”
“If you go through the grounds he has been raising since Day One that he learned he was losing, it’s a different ground almost every day. Now he's alleging there was a fourth server. At first he's alleging I was shaving votes from Escudero and [it was] proven that I wasn’t,” Robredo, a lawyer herself, said in a Rappler talk interview.
She does not give much attention to Marcos' election protest since she's already used to it, she said, being the wife of a long-time mayor and a newbie politician herself. The late interior secretary Jesse Robredo faced contention in the 6 elections he won as Naga mayor; Robredo's victory in her 2013 congressional bid was also contested even if she had won by a landslide.
Robredo noted this fight is different because she is head-to-head with a Marcos, a member of a powerful political clan.
“He has been using media. He has been using his money to spin a different tale and that [makes] it different. [I] can’t just also sit back and allow him to twist facts,” she said.
Robredo also expressed concern over Marcos’ huge presence on social media and the number of people he has seemingly convinced through it. “It is difficult for us because we don’t have as much resource to say otherwise.”
In his protest, Marcos is seeking a recount of votes in 27 provinces and cities covering 36,000 precincts. He also wants to nullify votes in Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. The Marcos camp claims there was massive electoral fraud in these areas, where pre-shaded ballots were reportedly found during the elections.
The case is still pending before the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET. In July, the High Court asked Robredo’s camp to respond to Marcos’ 1,000-page complaint within 10 days. But Robredo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said it is not enough time to respond “the longest protest ever filed in the country.” (READ: Robredo vs Marcos: The long and winding road to the vice presidency)
Robredo, for her part, is counting on the wisdom of the High Court.
“I hope the courts will decide accordingly and with swiftness because the longer that the case drags, the more it is difficult for all of us to move on,” she said during the interview. – Rappler.com