The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced Wednesday that he would definitely run for national elections in 2022 after the Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, dismissed his election protest filed against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos lawyer and spokesperson Victor Rodriguez said the Marcos’ camp would be preparing for the 2022 elections.
“From the start of January 2021, our mindset is geared towards 2022 since the onset that is why we have been asking the Court to resolve the election case already and not let it become moot and academic,” Rodriguez said.
Meanwhile, the camp of Robredo believes no amount of appeal could overturn the decision of the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that junked the electoral protest of Marcos.
Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s lawyer, said should Marcos file a plea, that would be “very hard” to overturn.
“With due respect, for me, the game is over because the decision was unanimous. Very, very hard to overturn a 15-member en banc voting unanimously to dismiss the case,” he told CNN Philippines in an interview.
Robredo, for her part, called on the public to move on amid the PET’s dismissal of Marcos’ petition.
A statement released by the Office of Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao congratulated Vice Prresident Leni Robredo and celebrated what the statement called the “people's triumph” and a vindication against allegations of poll irregularities in the now-defunct ARMM areas.
When asked if Marcos was eyeing the presidency, Rodriguez replied: “We will be making an announcement as to his plan.”
Rodriguez disclosed this while maintaining they have yet to receive the copy of the PET decision unanimously dismissing the election protest.
“Everything is suspended in air until we get a copy of the decision. It’s premature to be speaking about motion for reconsideration. We are not in that route yet,” Rodriguez said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
Rodriguez stressed that they would want to determine first whether the decision covered the third cause of action in Marcos’ election protest case.
“What we are asking is a clear and full picture of what is the entire decision and from there we will be making a definitive statement and from there we will be making an intelligent move in our next step,” he said.
The SC Public Information Office on Tuesday released a statement, saying that the 15 members of the PET unanimously dismissed the entire electoral protest.
Copy of the decision will be posted on its website and be given to the parties once it is available.
Rodriguez said their camp is particularly interested to know from the decision on the Court acted on their third cause of action which sought the annulment of election results in three provinces in Mindanao.
Marcos filed an election protest on June 29, 2016 , claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May also that year.
In his election protest, Marcos cited three causes of action:
• first, that Automated Elections System was compromised, hence, the integrity of the AES could not be relied upon to declare a legitimate winner;
• the second required the revision or manual recount of the actual ballots to determine the votes cast in all the 36,465 protested clustered precincts;
• the third sought the annulment of election results for the VP position in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan, on the ground of terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts in the areas.
Rodriguez said setting aside the votes from Mindanao would have given Marcos the lead of about 45,000 votes.
Lawyer Ma. Bernadette Sardillo, one of Robredo's counsel, said it was "very clear" that the entire election protest was dismissed. The Robredo camp has yet to receive a copy of the Supreme Court decision, she added.
Rodriguez said he was no longer interested in a manual recount and judicial review because even if this pushed through, "it's impossible" for them to finish this in about one year and four months, when the vice president's term would end.
He said their camp was not afraid whatever the ultimate verdict of the PET might be as they have made a strong case that there was cheating in the 2016 elections.
"We firmly believe we made made a good, clear, and solid case before the Filipino people that there was a massive cheating last 2016 election for the vice presidency and that the vice president was stolen from the real winner," he said.
He said former Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista's statement that the 2016 elections was the cleanest and its count was accurate was proven wrong when there was a recovery of 15,000 votes.
In October 2019, the PET revealed that Robredo's lead grew by around 15,000 after ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental were recounted. The Marcos camp chose these pilot areas.
“When votes move by about 15,000 and you say there was a recovery, can you still say that the count was exact? Can't you now suspect or have at least doubt on the final tally that was shown in the Smartmatic-run machines?” he asked.