VP electoral protest

Robredo after SC defeat of Marcos: ‘In the end, the truth will prevail’

Mara Cepeda

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Robredo after SC defeat of Marcos: ‘In the end, the truth will prevail’

DULY ELECTED VP. Vice President Leni Robredo faces the nation after the Supreme Court junked Bongbong Marcos' election case against her on February 16, 2021.

Screenshot courtesy of Robredo's Facebook page

Vice President Leni Robredo urges everyone, including her supporters, to 'put this rancor behind us and let us move forward together'

Vice President Leni Robredo savored defeating Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr again, this time before the highest court in the land that ruled his allegations of electoral fraud had no basis.

The duly elected Vice President of the Philippines faced the public on Tuesday night, February 16, hours after the Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), unanimously junked Marcos’ election case against her

“Naitaguyod natin ‘yung tunay na pasya nung 2016 elections. Mula naman sa simula, parati kong sinasabi – at ito makaka-attest ‘yung ating mga staff dito sa OVP (Office of the Vice President) – na sa dulo ng lahat, katotohanan ‘yung mananaig,” said Robredo.

(We were able to uphold the true decision of the people in the 2016 elections. Since the beginning, I have alway said – and this the OVP staff can attest – in the end, the truth will prevail.)

“Naniwala tayo sa katotohanan ng ating pagkahalal. Naniwala tayo sa proseso. Naniwala tayo sa integridad ng mga mahistrado sa Presidential Electoral Tribunal. And we are happy and grateful that this trust was affirmed,” Robredo said.

(We trusted in the legitimacy of our election. We trusted the process. We trusted the integrity of the magistrates of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. And we are happy and grateful that this trust was affirmed.)

The Vice President thanked the SC justices for their “fairness and resolve,” saying their ruling will now allow her office to focus on their “more important work of serving our people.”

Robredo has received widespread praise for her effective coronavirus pandemic response programs despite the OVP’s measly budget. 

The Vice President beat Marcos by just 263,473 votes in the 2016 vice presidential elections, prompting the latter to allege cheating and to file an election case against her.

The High Court has yet to provide details of the decision, including the main basis of the dismissal. 

But a highly reliable Rappler source said the PET dismissed the VP protest case because Marcos did not sufficiently justify an annulment of elections in 3 Mindanao provinces – the 3rd and final cause of action in his case.

Despite a categorical and unanimous ruling to dismiss his case, Marcos’ camp insisted the PET ruled only on his 2nd cause of action, where he wants a vote recount in over 36,000 clustered precincts nationwide. 

The SC, however, later issued an amended press briefer reiterating that the “entire protest” was dismissed. 

Robredo’s plea: Set aside grudges, ‘move forward together’

It had not been an easy road for Robredo, who had to deal with an election case right after becoming the victorious underdog of the 2016 vice presidential race. She had beaten 5 incumbent male senators then, with Marcos as her closest opponent. 

Asked by a reporter if she has any message for Marcos, Robredo refused to make any comments.

She instead thanked her supporters for standing by her despite the election case that had placed a shadow of doubt on the legitimacy of her vice presidency these past years.

Robredo then urged everyone – especially her supporters – to set aside any grudges and instead focus on helping Filipinos recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Now that this issue has been settled, ang hinihingi ko sa lahat, lalo na siguro sa supporters natin, is to put this rancor behind us and let us move forward together,” said Robredo.

(Now that this issue has been settled, I am asking everyone, especially my supporters perhaps, is to put this rancor behind us and let us move forward together.)

“Maraming tayong pinagdadaanan… Isantabi muna natin ‘yung sama ng loob, isantabi muna ‘yung ‘di pagkakaintindihan, isantabi natin ‘yung away kasi maraming umaasa sa atin,” she added.

(We are going through so much… Let us set aside our grudges, let us set aside our misunderstandings, let us set aside our fights because a lot of people are relying on us.)

Opposition senators and other lawmakers welcomed the PET ruling and urged both camps to begin the “healing process.” 

Business leaders also applauded the SC for settling Marcos’ protest against Robredo, saying the decision “removes a major source of unnecessary and damaging political uncertainty” in the country. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.