NOVEMBER 13, 2019 – Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should withdraw his poll protest against the vice president to allow her to focus on her new job as anti-illegal drug czar, her election lawyer said on Wednesday.
Lawyer Romy Macalintal said the withdrawal of protest will give Vice President Leni Robredo ample time and concentration on the drug war, and a “graceful exit” for Marcos.
The protest has dragged on for three years now and cost both parties millions of pesos.
“Para sa akin, graceful exit is to withdraw it and show statesmanship and act of patriotism in light of the new appointment of the vice president,” Macalintal said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay. “Please help the vice president in making a direct focus on her new job against illegal drugs and that will support the administration against the problem of the country.”
Macalintal also argued that there is already a “cloud of doubt” regarding the legitimacy of his petition, citing the findings of Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
The report showed that Robredo’s lead widened by around 15,000 votes after the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three pilot provinces chosen by Marcos, or 278,566 votes from 263,473.
In the Philippines, the vice president is voted separately from the president unlike in other countries, like the United States.
The court, however, deferred to issue a decision and asked both parties instead to submit their comments on the report.
“Namili siya ng probinsya ang he said these are the three provinces that best exemplify the election fraud. He knew and he was reminded by the PET that in the event that you do not make any substantial recovery from the three provinces, we are going to dismiss your protest,” Macalintal said.
Marcos filed the protest in June 2016 alleging that massive cheating transpired in the vice presidential race. He also sought to nullify the votes from Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.
“By conducting the cheating in the election, they robbed the proper Vice-President who won the election, myself, from the three years of service,” Marcos said on October 15.
Robredo has denied the accusations and called for the immediate dismissal of the protest as it only allows accusations to prosper.
“Between the two of us, parang hindi yata ako ang may ugaling mag-rob,” the vice president responded. (Karen Macalalad / MM)