Robredo lawyer seeks 'public apology' from Bongbong Marcos

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Atty. Romulo Macalintal presents ballot images from the 2016 polls, and explains the presence of the squares former Senator Bongbong Marcos questioned.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday demanded a public apology from Bongbong Marcos over a supposed ballot fraud during the 2016 elections, as votes for the former senator also had similar questionable marks in the ballot.

"Dapat mag-apologize siya [He should apologize], public apology," Romulo Macalintal, Robredo's legal counsel said in a media briefing.

Marcos had questioned the appearance of "mysterious squares" on ballot images beside Robredo's name.

Macalintal also presented ballot images with the questioned squares. Some images showed squares next to the names of Marcos and Sen. Antonio Trillanes, whose votes were recognized by the vote-counting machine (VCM).

"Kung maginoo si Mr. Marcos, ngayon alam niya na 'tong ganito, dapat hihingi siya ng paumanhin diba. Dapat 'yung kanyang abogado, hihingi din ng paumanhin pag nagkamali," Macalintal said.

[Translation: If Mr. Marcos is noble enough, now that he knows this, he should give an apology. His lawyer should also apologize for his mistake, if there are any.]

"Namimili lang siya ng ipe-presenta niya sa inyo, para medyo iliko niya ang katotohanan. Kami, hindi," he added.

[Translation: He's just choosing what to show so he can bend the truth. We're not.]

Macalintal also debunked Marcos' issues on similar numbers on ballots. He explained the number were precinct-specific, and only differed when the ballot is accepted by the VCM.

He said the former senator was only using the Vice President's name to keep himself politically active in time for the 2019 senatorial polls.

Marcos, who lost to Robredo by over 260,000 votes, said the squares in ballot images were proof of fraud. But Robredo's legal counsel Maria Bernadette Sardillo had explained the squares are the VCM's way of recognizing a shade on the circle next to the candidate.

READ: Robredo lawyer: Poll fraud claim should be raised with Comelec

Macalintal said they are looking forward to the manual vote recount on March 19.

"Wala pa pong nanalo sa recount ng ballots, mula noong 2010, 2013, 2016 elections," he said.

[Translation: Nobody has won in a ballot recount, since the 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections.]

No witness can disprove poll results

Macalintal also spoke on the witness to be brought by Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System. Escudero was also a vice-presidential candidate.

"I am sure na walang ebidensya na mali ang bilang. Siguro ipe-present niya, some procedural errors, pero para sa akin, imposible na magkaroon ng anumang evidence na will show na merong irregularities 'yung count of the votes," Macalintal said.

[Translation: I am sure that there's no mistake in the count. Maybe he will present some procedural errors, but for me, it's impossible to have any evidence to show irregularities in the count of votes.]

READ: Senator: Ex-Comelec official to shed light on possible poll fraud

He added that if there was such an expert on poll fraud, election protestants would have already talked to him.

"Hundreds or thousands of protests have been filed. Pero wala pang kahit isang expert na nakapagsabi na mali ang bilang ng vote counting machines [But not one expert could say that the vote counting machines were wrong with the count]," Macalintal said.