By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice Leni Robredo and her rival, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., have to wait a little longer before the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, begins the official recount of votes.
Robredo’s legal counsel, Romulo Macalintal, on Wednesday disclosed that the ballot recount for the election protest the Vice President is facing is expected to start on March 19.
“This March, I think…then there will also be simultaneous collection (of ballot boxes) from different areas—Iloilo and Negros Oriental. This will be continuous,” he said when asked about the schedule for the manual recount of votes.
Ballot boxes from Camarines Sur were already delivered by the PET retrieval team to the SC gymnasium in Manila, where the recount will be held.
The namesake and son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos chose these three “pilot” provinces for the ballot recount in his election protest.
Macalintal earlier indicated the supposed recount of votes by PET will start this February prior to his announcement of the new schedule.
Expect technicalities to be raised
The veteran lawyer said Marcos would only be disappointed once results of the ballot recount are out because it would only validate Robredo’s victory in the 2016 vice presidential race.
“Upon the opening of ballot boxes from pilot protested precincts, it will clearly reveal that there were not irregularities in the last elections—not just for the vice president, but in the entire candidates or the names of candidates appearing on the ballots,” he said.
Robredo’s camp expects Marcos to make manifestations on issues of “technicalities” before the court after the opening of the ballot boxes.
“Marcos is preparing for what to happen next because he knows nothing will happen in the opening of ballot boxes. And expect a lot of technicalities to be raised after finding out that there were no discrepancies in counting the ballots,” said Macalintal.
At the same time, he also anticipated the election protest of Marcos to be resolved within the year.
“This protest will be over this October, 2018. Because, why? Mr. Marcos will be filing his certificate of candidacy for senator, and by that, the case will be moot and academic,” he said.
Macalintal has accused the former senator for using the election case for his political ambition.
“Because he will run in 2019, and his battle cry there is that he was cheated in this election. He wants to top the senatorial election in 2019,” the lawyer said.
“Why does he want to top the 2019 senatorial election? Because if you’re a topnotcher in a senatorial election, you’re a potential candidate for the presidency in the 2022 election,” Macalintal pointed out.