MANILA, Philippines – The lead counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo said her 2016 election rival, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, would only be disappointed once results of the ballot recount are out.
In a statement on Monday, February 5, veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal expressed confidence that Marcos' electoral protest challenging Robredo's victory is "now facing its eventual dismissal."
Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes in the May 2016 polls.
"We assure our electorate that the results of the recount would greatly disappoint Marcos since the recount will just confirm the results as counted by the vote-counting machines," added Macalintal.
He also reiterated that Robredo has no pending motions before the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), contrary to Marcos' claim.
Marcos' camp earlier challenged Robredo to "sign a joint motion withdrawing all our outstanding motions so we could go straight to the recount." (READ: Robredo, Marcos camps point fingers amid recount 'challenge')
"Mr Marcos is bluffing on his challenge to withdraw all motions as there is no motion pending at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that would or could delay the recount," Macalintal said.
"His challenge is actually a clear manifestation that he regrets and lacks confidence in the would-be results of the recount. It is his diversionary tactic to avoid the great embarrassment and humiliation he would suffer once the people know that Marcos' claimed bombshell of evidence would turn out to be a dud."
Marcos earlier claimed ballot images show that Robredo, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and technology provider Smartmatic conspired to rig the May 2016 polls.
But election lawyer Emil Marañon III, among those who have been consulted by the Robredo camp, pointed out in a Rappler opinion piece that the "shocking" evidence that Marcos presented were merely new features on the 2016 ballot.
Marcos had chosen 3 pilot provinces – Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental, and Iloilo –where the initial recount of ballots will be held. It has yet to be announced when the recount will begin.