By Felipe F. Salvosa II
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo will stay in her post whatever the result of the vote recount in three pilot provinces handpicked by ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in his electoral protest, Robredo’s lawyer said on Sunday.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is expected to decide on Oct. 8 whether Marcos’s protest of the 2016 vice-presidential election will continue, following the conclusion of a recount in 5,415 precincts in three pilot provinces — Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
“I just want to make it very clear that whatever will be the decision or resolution of the PET in the election protest of Bongbong Marcos against VP Leni Robredo, as reported in various media and the subject of various speculations, VP Robredo will remain as Vice President,” Robredo counsel Romulo Macalintal said in a statement.
At any rate, the Robredo camp had disclosed that the vice president actually won some 15,000 additional votes in the recount.
“If the PET says that Marcos has made a substantial recovery,” Macalintal said, “then the PET will rule that the protest shall continue, insofar as the ballots and/or election returns questioned by Marcos from 22 remaining provinces and five highly urbanized cities (HUCs). In which case, Robredo remains as Vice President pending recount of ballots or returns from said 22 provinces and five HUCs.”
“If PET rules that Marcos was unable to gain any substantial recovery from the recount of ballots from his three pilot provinces (Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental), then his protest will be dismissed and VP Leni’s victory will be affirmed,” he added.
Jailed senator Leila de Lima said the PET should not delay its ruling on the long-pending electoral protest, much less be influenced with some “extraneous influences.”
“It is no secret that [President Rodrigo Duterte is averse to a Robredo succession in case anything happens to him,” she said in her recent dispatch from Camp Crame, where she is detained over what she calls trump-up charges involving the illegal drugs trade.
“I am hoping against hope that the predisposition of the appointing power does not influence or affect the decision-making of the justices, on an otherwise simple case of correctly applying grade school math,” she added.
Robredo defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes in the 2016 election. Marcos, a Duterte ally, filed a protest before the PET, claiming “massive cheating.” (PressONE.ph)