By Raymund Antonio
The move of her opponent former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to nullify election results in the three Mindanao provinces showed he failed to obtain substantial recovery of votes in the recount for his poll protest, Vice President Leni Robredo said.
Robredo, a former housing chief, argued Marcos should have chosen Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan instead of the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
“Dapat sana iyon na iyong pinili niya noong umpisa. Bakit hindi niya iyon pinili (He should have chosen those areas from the start. Why didn’t he pick them)?” Robredo asked.
“Ngayong wala siya doong nakuha, gusto na naman niyang maghanap sa iba. Sa akin lang, alam naman namin na kahit saan siya maghanap, wala pa din siyang mahahanap,” she said.
(Now he won’t be able to get anything from the pilot provinces, he wants to look for it in other areas. For me, we know even if he looks at other places, he can’t get anything.)
The Vice President made the statement after she was ordered by Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to comment on Marcos’ motion to nullify election results in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) provinces.
On Tuesday, the PET also allowed the release of the committee report on the results of the vice presidential recount in the three pilot provinces.
Robredo explained it wasn’t her who chose these pilot areas for the recount of votes.
“During the preliminary conference, [in] accordance with the rules of the PET, Marcos was asked to choose three provinces, which best exemplify the fraud that he is alleging. I wasn’t the one who chose them, it was him,” she said in Filipino.
Robredo accused Marcos of dragging his election case to have a “platform for propaganda.”
“Nagkakaroon siya ng platporma para magpropaganda na siya yung totoong nahirang na vice president (It gives a platform to make propaganda that he was the elected vice president),” the opposition leader said.
Robredo’s lead lawyer Romy Macalintal considers the release of recount results as a positive development in the Marcos protest.
Macalintal said the latest SC ruling means they were given due process and chance to argue that Rule 65 should be applied.
Under Rule 65 of 2010 PET rules, the protest must be dismissed if Marcos fails to obtain substantial recovery of votes in the three pilot provinces.
“We would argue the annulment of election results can’t be part of this election protest anymore because if Mr. Marcos really did not make any substantial recovery, then there is no use of going into another set of three provinces,” he said.
“Otherwise, six provinces would become his pilot provinces and that would be contrary to the rules of PET. He should not be allowed to fish for evidence,” Macalintal added.
“There should be a strict compliance with the requirement that you should prove your case on the basis of the pilot provinces,” he stressed.