Vice President Leni Robredo’s counsel, lawyer Romulo Macalintal delivered at the start of the canvassing at the House of Representatives in Batasan Complex Tuesday afternoon, May 24 what was practically the opposition leader’s concession message for the May 9 presidential race.
The members of the House and Senate, functioning as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) in a joint session, were about to begin tabulation of the votes cast in the elections when Macalintal stood up to make a manifestation.
The delivery of his message was slow, somber, but impactful.
“I’d like to make a short manifestation on behalf of Vice President Leni Robredo. Your honors, in her public statement, Vice President Leni Robredo asked her supporters that we need to accept the decision of the majority,” Macalintal said.
“Sinabi niya, ‘Bagaman may hindi pa nabibilang, bagaman may mga tanong ukol sa eleksyon na ito na kailangang matugunan, palinaw na ng palinaw ang tinig ng taumbayan. Sa ngalan ng Pilipinas, na alam kong mahal na mahal rin ninyo, kailangan nating pakinggan ang tinig na ito (Even if some votes remain uncounted, even if there are questions about the election that need to be answered, the voice of the people is becoming clearer. For the sake of the Philippines that I know you also love dearly, this voice must be heard),'” he quoted Robredo as saying.
“Dahil sa huli, iisa lang naman ang bayang pinagsasaluhan natin. Habang lumilinaw na ang litrato, kailangan nating simulang tanggapin na hindi ayon sa mga pangarap natin ang resulta ng election (In the end, we share only one country. As the picture gets clearer, we need to begin to accept that the election results weren’t according to our aspirations),” he added.
Macalintal the made manifestations that sought to hasten the canvassing and the NBOC’s proclamation of the winners of the presidential and vice presidential contest.
“She said, ‘We need to accept the majority’s decision.’ And so your honors, consistent with such pronouncements by Vice President Leni Robredo, and so as not to delay the proceedings of this board, we would like to make of record our continuing manifestation that we interpose no objection to the inclusion in the canvass of all certificates of canvass (COCs) for president from the various provincial and city board of canvassers found by this honorable board to be authentic and duly-executed,” he said. The lawmakers present responded with a round of applause.
As an adidditinal move, Robredo’s counsel waive its appearance before the joint committee “to further expedite its proceedings”.
“And finally, on a personal note, in any competition or contest, I am always guided by this very meaningful short prayer [titled] ‘The Prayer of Sportsman’,” Macalintal said.
“This was composed by the late American poet Berton Braley, and I quote, ‘Dear Lord, if I should win, let it be by the code, with my faith and my honor held high; and if I should lose, let me stand by the road and cheer as the winners go by,'” the Robredo lawyer said before returning to his seat.
Also attending the proceedings as the counsel of presumptive president Bongbong Marcos was lawyer Vic Rodriguez. He couldn’t help but respond to the magnanimous gesture displayed by the Robredo camp during the canvassing, which is typically a contentious and dragging part of the electoral process.
“We join in the manifestation of my distinguished colleague and one of the leading election law practitioner, Atty. Romulo, ‘Romy Mac’ Macalintal,” Rodriguez, the incoming Marcos administration executive secretary, said in a separate manifestation.
“And likewise,” Rodriguez continued, “We would like to recognize and thank the patriotism exhibited by Vice President Leni Robredo for expressly recognizing the integrity and the result of the recently concluded general elections.”
Partial and unofficial results of the Palace race based on transparency servers showed Marcos with an indomitable 16-million vote lead against the second-placed Robredo.
Rodriguez approached Macalintal afterward to greet him. The Marcos lawyer later told reporters that Macalintal’s manifestation was a surprise.
“But it was a good surprise, and again, a show of deep patriotism,” the former said.
Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, the head of the Senate contingent to the NBOC, commented on the floor: “Thank you very much gentlemen, at least now we can let the healing begin, and we can set aside politics.”
Zubiri’s NBOC counterpart in the lower chamber, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, gave a similar reaction: “We join the co-chair in expressing the gratitude and appreciation on behalf of both Houses and the Filipino people for the graciousness of the Vice President and the sportsmanlike conduct of her counsel in the person of Atty. Rommy Macalintal as well as the magnamity of our President-elect Bongbong Marcos.”
“The healing has begun. Let us unite as a nation, for and by the Filipino people,” Romualdez said.
As if seeing the significance of Macalintal’s action, lawyer Rizalina Lumbera, counsel of another Palace bet in Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, approached the podium to make her own manifestation.
“On behalf of the presidential candidate, Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, we interpose no objection in the inclusion of all the COCs in the canvass for the position of the president. We recognize the integrity of the 2022 national and local elections,” Lumbera said.