Robredo tells Marcos to swallow ‘bitter pill’ of defeat in VP poll protest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2)— Vice President Leni Robredo asked the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to junk with finality the election protest of former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

In her comment, Robredo said Marcos’ appeal must be denied since his issues were rehashed.

“Since this is just a repetition of the same arguments, then we look forward to the resolution of the decision of the PET that the case be dismissed again for utter lack of merit,” Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal told reporters on Friday.

Marcos insisted that the tribunal should proceed with his third cause of action: to annul election results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur due to alleged fraud and terrorism.

But in its unanimous ruling, PET said Marcos failed to prove his claims and that his “allegations appeared bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations and lacked critical information.”

The losing vice presidential candidate argued the dismissal of the entire protest under Rule 65 of PET rules will only apply if the cause of action is limited to recount and revision of ballots.

Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the decision, said the tribunal was explicit in imposing the mandatory ceiling in pilot provinces to serve as litmus test that “when no substantial recovery of votes in the pilot provinces is shown the election protest must be dismissed.”

“If, indeed, protestant was convinced of his claims in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan then he should have indicated those three as his pilot provinces. But he did not, to no fault of this Tribunal,” Leonen wrote.

Robredo’s lawyers also pointed out nobody dictated Marcos to choose Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental as his pilot provinces.

“Now that he was proven wrong, protestant Marcos now wants to change the Rules so he can keep fanning the flames on his unsubstantiated allegations. Protestant Marcos has no one to blame but himself for the dismissal of his Election Protest,” the camp said.

After the revision and appreciation of votes in the pilot provinces, PET said Marcos’ total number of votes only increased by 204,513 while Robredo’s votes increased by 1,510,178.

“By this alone, Marcos failed to show reasonable recovery of his votes in his designated pilot provinces,” the PET said.

Robredo’s counsels pointed that Marcos’ election protest proved that Robredo won not just once but thrice against Marcos.

“This might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is one that protestant Marcos must accept with grace,” they said.