âIf Marcos won, he wouldnât seek further recountâ
Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. personally chose the three areas out of 30 provinces where he claimed he was cheated by Robredo.
Boy Santos

‘If Marcos won, he wouldn’t seek further recount’

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s seeking to have the votes in three areas in Mindanao nullified may be proof of his failure to obtain “substantial recovery” in the recount of their votes in three pilot provinces, the lead lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.

“The fact that you’re asking for another three provinces only shows that we won in the three pilot provinces,” veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said in an interview with CNN Philippines, referring to the recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Marcos personally chose the three areas out of 30 provinces where he claimed he was cheated by Robredo.

“When he found out that he was not able to gain substantial recovery (from the pilot areas), suddenly he will ask the court, ‘Mr. PET, can we have three more?’ We said, that’s not possible because under the rules, only three provinces are allowed,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ordered the release of the result of the initial recount and asked the opposing sides to comment on this and on issues related to Marcos’ appeal to annul the elections in three Mindanao provinces – Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao – on the grounds of alleged terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters. Robredo said they have yet to receive a copy of the report.

“Hopefully, we get it very soon,” the Vice President said in an interview in Pasay City.

SC public information chief Brian Keith Hosaka, in an interview with dzMM, said the two camps will get their respective copies of the report on the initial recount of their votes in the 2016 elections in “a couple of days.”

Macalintal said they were not happy with the SC’s order to comment on Marcos’ third cause of action, which is to annul votes in three Mindanao areas.

He said the dissenting opinions of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa “clearly” showed that Marcos’ protest is “dismissible.”

The camp of Robredo also claimed that the Vice President even recovered around 15,000 votes.

“Well, that is our estimate based on our copy of our revision report. And we will be confirming that the moment we receive the official copy,” said Macalintal.

Robredo also slammed Marcos’ lawyer Vic Rodriguez for asking her to share in the expenses in the recount.

“They’re the ones who initiated this. If only they accepted defeat, there will be no more expenses, right?” she said.

Robredo defeated Marcos, son and namesake of the late strongman, by more than 200,000 votes. 

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said he wanted to skip Tuesday’s PET session – his last – to avoid suspicion that he would try to influence the outcome of the voting of the magistrates.

“I wanted to delay the vote, I did not like to take part in it because I did not like the media speculating I cooked or orchestrated the result but I always told you it is impossible to have manipulations in the SC because there are many (factors) that are involved,” Bersamin said. 

“But the en banc prevailed on me to take the vote yesterday and after some deliberation we were able to conclude that it was timely for the parties to be asked to comment on the report generated by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa who was the justice-in-charge,” he added.

The outcome of the PET voting was 11-2, with Carpio and Caguioa dissenting. Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr. was absent.

“It was clear that a majority of the (members of the) Court wanted action to be taken on the report. Before we could take any action, we had to solicit the comment of the parties. That is only a fair part of due process and so we came out with that resolution to require the parties to comment,” the retiring chief magistrate said. 

He added that by giving the parties copies of the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots, the PET might seek comment on the findings. “Findings are more or less conclusions. It would not be good if we did not allow or let the parties to comment first before we officially act on the report. It’s a unilateral report,” he said.

On Robredo and Marcos camps both claiming victory, Bersamin said, “That is their opinion. That did not come from the court. After we release our result it’s up to them whatever they say, they may even distort what we have decided.”

Marcos filed his electoral protest on June 29, 2016 or more than a month after the elections. – With Evelyn Macairan

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