'Game over' for Marcos poll protest, Robredo lawyer claims 
The lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo says it's 'game over' for Marcos' protest against her over the 2016 elections.
Ryan Macasero/Philstar.com

'Game over' for Marcos poll protest, Robredo lawyer claims 

Ryan Macasero (Philstar.com) - January 23, 2019 - 2:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — For Romulo Macalintanal, election lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo, it's “game over” for former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s poll protest.

There are two reasons for this, Robredo’s lawyer told reporters at a press conference Wednesday morning: “Walang recovery ang nagawa ni Mr Marcos, at saka ito ay nakabase sa past election protests involving automated elections,” he said, saying that almost all past election protests involving automated elections have failed.

(Mr. Marcos did not find any recovery of votes and this is based on past election protests involving automated elections) 

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, said that the ballot recount is nearing its end except for a few damaged ballots. The recount will continue on January 28.

The same PET noted recounts in four protests it previously acted on did not reach completion. Marcos' poll protest would be the first that wil be completed, it said. 

The tribunal has repeatedly reminded parties in the recount to refrain from commenting on the ongoing process, citing the sub judice rule.

The recount began last April in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, pilot provinces that Marcos identified in his protest. The results of the recount in the three provinces would determine if the tribunal should continue checking ballots in the rest of the clustered precincts in the country.

READ: PET: Ballot recount in VP poll protest nearing end

Macalintal held a joint press conference with former Rep. Erin Tañada (Quezon) to discuss a supplemental manifestation they filed on Robredo's behalf objecting to Marcos' petition for a technical examination in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

Aside from the electoral protest, the two also discussed their respective senate bids and campagin platforms at the press conference.

In December, Marcos filed a petition to look into voters records included in an unrelated petition by former Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan against ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

READ: Robredo camp says Marcos 'skirting rules' with petition to examine ARMM precincts

Macalintal slammed this move as “skirting the rules” by trying to expand the pilot provinces in the recount. 

Robredo's election said the next move after the recount is finished is for the PET to call a hearing and for both parties to present evidence in the electoral protest.

But Macalintal said that the suspension—the PET said it is essentially because the tribunal is waiting for the remaining decrypted ballots—has no impact on the process.

"I don’t see any impact, because that’s really part of the process, I don’t see any impact on the ongoing revision or recount," Macalintal added.

Macalintal claims VP gained votes in recount

According to Macalintal, the vice president gained additional votes from the recount due to the ruling upholding the 25-percent shading threshold, after the re-appreciation. He said it could even increase her margin of 263,473 votes.

He said Robredo gained an additional 17,405 votes in the recount bringing her total gains in the pilot provinces to 33,935, not counting the wet ballots that will be counted at the end of the month. Decrypted ballot images of the wet ballots will be used to finish the recount.

“If your vote lead hasn’t increased significantly in the pilot provinces, how can you move forward in the protest?” he said in Filipino. 

The PET has not issued any official numbers related to the recount and has generally been silent on the ongoing process.

In response to Macalintal's "game over' statement, Vic Rodriguez, a lawyer representing Marcos, said that he believes the comments were "media mileage in his quixotic effort to bring relevance to the carcasses of a futile Senate bid." 

He added: "I pity Macalintal. As an officer of the court, it's clear to me that only the PET can determine whether we are finished." 

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