Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo have traded charges over the signing of a joint manifestation to withdraw all motions and clear the way for the recount of contested votes in the 2016 vice presidential elections.
A day after Marcos signed the joint manifestation, he accused Robredo of being not willing to withdraw her pending motions before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Marcos’ spokesperson, Vic Rodriguez said that the reason Mrs. Robredo was not withdrawing her pending motions was because she did not sign the joint motion that her lawyer presented to the media. Rodriguez also pointed out noted that in his the joint motion only the name of Robredo’s counsel, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, appeared on the document.
According to Rodriguez, the absence of Robredo’s signature puts into question her sincerity to hasten the pace of the electoral process. It likewise casts doubt on the authority of Macalintal who signed the motion. Robredo could later on even disown the motion because it was made without her conformity.
“Without Mrs. Robredo’s signature, the motion is a mere scrap of paper and may be later disowned by her as having been signed without her authority. Tila gustong makalinlang na naman,” Rodriguez said.
Macalintal, however, said Robredo will not sign the “joint manifestation.” “A motion is a pleading where a party asks the court to grant him the relief or remedies or what he wants from the court. A ‘manifestation’ is merely a pleading wherein the party merely makes a representation or statement, which the court may just take note of without any action at all,” Macalintal said.
“This is contrary to what he has been claiming and asking that we should file a joint motion,” he added
The Robredo’s camp had invited Marcos to attend a press conference on Wednesday in Manila where they were supposed to sign a joint motion on the withdrawal of motions, but the former senator and his counsel did not show up.
But Rodriguez emphasized that if Macalintal was indeed serious about withdrawing all motions, he should have done it through the official route and not meet in a fast food restaurant for the signing. “Signing a major pleading in a pizza restaurant shows an utter lack of respect for the judicial process. There is a proper way to do things and this involves going to the law office of your opposing counsel and handing over the proper documents to them,” Rodriguez said.
Marcos’ lawyer also questioned the the joint motion prepared by Macalintal saying the same only covered pending motions and not future motions that may delay the proceedings. He said Marcos’ joint manifestation was more sincere because it covered both present and future motions in the election proceedings.
Rodriguez also took exception to the assertion made by Macalintal in his the joint motion that Marcos has a pending “Partial Motion for Reconsideration” dated Dec. 4, 2017 asking the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to reconsider its earlier ruling allowing them to secure soft copies of the ballot images.
Rodriguez pointed out that the said Partial Motion for Reconsideration had already been resolved by the Tribunal in its Resolution dated January 10, 2018.
This is the reason, he pointed out, why the Marcos camp went to the law office of Macalintal and his co-counsel Ma. Bernadette Sardillo located at Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City. They went there first thing today (Wednesday) to give them the complete set of copies of the joint manifestation signed by Marcos and his counsel, George Garcia, together with the corresponding cover letter.
“The challenge to meet at a fast food restaurant is unbecoming of an officer of the Court. It is unlawyerly and at most more of a publicity stunt. We hope the other camp has the decency to act accordingly,” Rodriguez said.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263, 473 votes in the May 2016 elections.