Marcos vows to continue fighting even after dismissal of poll protest vs. Robredo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20)— Former Senator Bongbong Marcos on Tuesday said he will “continue to fight” even after the unanimous dismissal of the electoral protest he lodged against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“So long as there is a ray of hope, I will continue to fight,” Marcos said in a statement. “At the end of the day, the true will of the electorate must prevail.”

Marcos’ remark comes a day after the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, released the full copy of its decision on the vice presidential poll protest case, which all 15 magistrates earlier voted to dismiss.

In its decision, the PET said Marcos failed to prove his claims and that his allegations on election irregularities “appeared bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations and lacked critical information.”

In response, Marcos said he found it “unfortunate” that the justices dismissed the case without allowing his camp “to present proof about the massive cheating that occurred in Mindanao.”

Marcos’ camp previously asked the tribunal to revisit the results and to validate voter signatures in three provinces in the area — Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan — due to alleged fraud and terrorism.

But a highly-placed source in the court earlier said Marcos' camp cannot seek the annulment of votes in these areas after failing in the recount in the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

READ: VP poll protest: Robredo camp says ‘game over,’ but Marcos side wants more details

Marcos said the development sets a “very bad precedent.”

“[B]ecause in the future, no one in their right mind would dare question the results of an election,” Marcos stressed. “The PET should do everything in its power to ascertain who really won as Vice President."

Marcos filed the electoral protest on June 30, 2016 as he questioned the poll results in the same year, when Robredo beat him by 263,473 votes for the post. In 2019, the tribunal found that Robredo's lead even grew by around 15,000 votes after a recount of ballots from clustered precincts in the pilot provinces.

Robredo’s camp, for its part, thanked the PET for its “wisdom and fairness” in resolving the issue.

“The unequivocal declaration in the decision that the protest 'failed to substantiate' its 'sweeping allegations' of supposed fraud, validates what has been our long-standing position: that the protest was baseless and unfounded from the beginning,” it said. “This clearly settles this matter once and for all.”