Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will “surely” join the presidential race in 2022 elections.
Lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez revealed Thursday that Marcos, who ran as running mate of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 polls, had started “preparing” for the presidential election last January.
Rodriguez said the Marcos camp’s mindset was that they were geared towards 2022 elections since January 1, even before Associate Justice Marvic Leonen decided to finally release his ponente on Marcos electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo and urged his fellow magistrates to concur on his arguments.
According to him, the main fight for the national and local polls in 2022 was the presidential post.
In his previous interviews, Rodriguez did not admit that Marcos was gunning for the highest post of the land.
“What is clear is that Marcos would definitely join the national elections despite the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed two of the three causes of Marcos protest,” he stressed.
Rodriguez said the dismissal of Marcos electoral protest was “not relevant anymore” to presidential elections.
However, he did not categorically mention that Marcos was finally giving up the fight for his electoral protest.
Rodriguez asserted the PET’s decision clearly showed that it had only thrown out two of the three causes of Marcos protests.
Rodriguez explained that “when we speak of election protest ... in its strictest legal meaning it has .. d a legal meaning. Election protest pertains solely to manual recount and judicial revision… Surely, when you dismissed the entire election protest meaning the manual recount and judicial revision. [I]t follows that you have to dismiss the counter protest”.
“We have two pending causes of action before the tribunal. One is the manual recount and judicial revision which is strictly election protest and the other one, the annulment, our third cause of action. The annulment of election results in the three provinces of Mindanao,” Rodriguez explained.
He pointed out that Marcos was not putting an end on the third cause of his protest saying “it has been established during the numerous hearings and decisions and deliberations of the court that the third cause of action was separate, distinct and could proceed independently from the manual recount and judicial revision”.
Marcos’ electoral protest was filed in June 2016.
Robredo won by a very small margin against Marcos, which strongly suggests that the veteran politician from the northern part of the country had a large following.
This was affirmed by the first survey on presidential candidates done by Pulse Asia last November which showed that Marcos was second to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte – Carpio.
Another survey done by another firm revealed that Marcos also got the second highest votes.
The only difference with the second survey was that Marcos was “very close” to Carpio – Duterte.
This means that Marcos’s approval rating as a presidential candidate gained additional percentage points compared to Carpio – Duterte.
After this, Carpio, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, issued a statement stating she was not interested to run for president.
She even urged Pulse Asia and other survey firms, for that matter, to exclude her in the presidential survey.
Tied with Marcos was Senator Mary Grace Poe in the two surveys.
Poe’s camp previously claimed that the lawmaker would not run for president in 2022 polls.
Other politicians who followed Marcos and Poe, but significantly far from them, in the same survey were all allies and supporters of President Duterte.
The only one who belongs to the opposition is Robredo who was ranked sixth in the survey.
Robredo is the chair of the Liberal Party (LP).
LP lost all of its nine senatorial candidates in 2019 polls.
Rodriguez made it clear that “regardless of the ultimate outcome of the decision [of the Supreme Court], regardless of the ultimate verdict of the tribunal, we will carry on...”
He said: “The dismissal of the election protest, meaning the manual recount and judicial revision per se, are no longer as impactful compared to the years after Senator Marcos filed his electoral protest in 2016. Maybe if they released it two years into the life of the case.
“But five years have passed, we are only in three pilot provinces . . . Even if they say let’s give due course to the election protest—meaning the manual recount and judicial revision, do they honestly believe that we can still both end the manual recount in the remaining almost 20 provinces with only one year and four months left?
“So it’s no longer impactful as it did not produce any mark of impression at all.”