With junking of poll protest, Robredo says 'truth prevailed in the end'

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo and her staff finally heave a sigh of relief years after the Supreme Court solidified her win in the 2016 race, with her urging the country to "put this ranchor behind" and focus on the work amid a pandemic.

The presidential electoral tribunal unanimously junked the electoral protest filed by ex-senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who had insisted for years even after news of the ruling broke out, that the 2016 polls were marred by fraud despite no concrete evidence to date.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday evening, Robredo touted the PET's affirmation of her victory, thanking the tribunal for their "fairness and resolve."

"Halos limang taon na 'yung nakalipas, [pero] ngayong araw nanaig 'yung katotohanan," she said. "Naniwala tayo sa katotohanan ng ating pagkahalal, naniwala tayo sa proseso, sa integridad ng mga mahistrado."

(Almost five years have passed but today the truth prevailed. We believed in the accuracy of our being elected, we believe in the process and in the integrity of the magistrates.)

Before the culmination of the last vice presidential race, Marcos had sought to nullify the elections in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao, including recounts that turned more in favor of Robredo with her lead increasing.

The years-long poll protest by the son of the late dictator who was his namesake would also see the involvement of Solicitor General Jose Calida. The government's top lawyer also sought for Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit from handling the case, only to be rebuked by the high court.

With election-related issues cleared, Robredo said more attention should be paid to the many affected by the ongoing health crisis, which has infected more than 552,000 and killed over 11,500 at present.

"Marami tayong kahirapang pinagdadaanan...isantabi muna natin 'yung sama ng loob, 'yung mga hindi pagkakaintindihan [at] 'yung away kasi maraming umaasa sa atin," the country's No. 2 said, whose office had led assistance and had been told by the president to "not compete with me."

(We are facing so many difficulties right now. Let us set aside our grievances, our differences and our fights because many are relying on us.)

Earlier, Marcos' camp said that the protest is still on, but the court came down clear that the entire petition had been dismissed. Even Salvador Panelo, counsel to the president who had often criticized Robredo, said Marcos and his supporters should accept the junking.

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