As predicted, current Vice President Leni Robredo and her supporters are crying foul over the initial results of the manual recount of the Vice Presidential votes. The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has discarded some of her votes due to invalidity. The protest case filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr in June 2016 is now underway and is already showing signs Robredo will lose votes. Obviously, Robredo’s camp is going to continue complaining for as long as the results don’t go her way. What did they expect? Did they actually think the manual recount will prove she won? That’s quite naïve of them.
Robredo and her supporters are already acting like sore losers this early. They are already suggesting that Marcos is influencing the results. They can’t deny the fact that irregularities keep coming up and they seem to support the allegation Robredo was a beneficiary of electoral fraud during the May 2016 Presidential Elections:
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During the first two weeks of recount, several irregularities were raised over the discovery of wet ballot boxes, unused or excess ballots with shaded votes for Robredo, missing audit logs and missing voters’ receipts in Camarines Sur’s Bato, Baao, Balatan, Bula and Sagñay towns.
Instead of showing concern, Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal dismissed them as nothing of consequence and said they are not proof of irregularities. He spoke like he doesn’t treat the ballot as a sacred document — as if seeing ballots discarded and missing audit logs and voter’s receipts is a normal occurrence in a Third World country like the Philippines and shouldn’t raise eyebrows. With Filipinos like Macalintal helping cover up signs of mismanagement and possible electoral fraud during the Presidential Elections, it’s no surprise the country remains backward.
Macalintal should be as appalled as the rest of us that ballot boxes were not stored properly and protected from tampering and environmental elements. Even if the damaged ballots have nothing to do with Robredo’s win, he should still show concern over how they were mishandled. It goes to show Robredo’s camp is always on the defence mode. This is why the public thinks they are not after the truth, only to keep Robredo in her post.
After causing the delay of the start of the recount for months, Robredo now seems to be hinting that the recount process is rigged. She’s got a lot of nerve considering it was her (alleged) fraudulent win that is in question and the reason why the country has to go through this daunting process. Complaining is her only recourse because she is losing votes after the electoral tribunal denied her request to consider as valid the ballots with at least 25 percent of its oval space shaded in the “revision, recount, and re-appreciation” of votes.
The tribunal insists there is no resolution that states “the applicability of a 25% threshold; and the Tribunal cannot treat the Random Manual Audit Guidelines and Report as proof of the threshold used by the COMELEC.” The tribunal is therefore sticking to the 50% threshold. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Marcos camp and it is becoming apparent that only Robredo is losing votes because of the rule. This says something. It could mean that the ballots showing Robredo as chosen candidate could have been pre-shaded in a rush before the actual election started by people other than the actual voters themselves.
Again, Robredo seems unconcerned that the ballots are showing irregularities as long as it is all in her favour. Robredo is now appealing to change the rules. She’s also trying to make it look like the electoral tribunal only recently changed the rules when the rules were established way before the start of the recount as stated in the PET revisors’ guide issued by the Supreme Court on February 2018, the 2010 PET rules of procedure, and the Constitutional mandate of the tribunal. Robredo is quoting from a manual not recognised by the tribunal.
This has to be highlighted: if the 50% threshold applies to both Robredo and Marcos, then it is not favouring one party over the other. Neither camp should complain.
In their efforts to paint Marcos as manipulating the VP vote recount, Robredo’s camp is inadvertently damaging the integrity of the SC sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal. She should be held in contempt for doing a press conference accusing the agency of changing the rules to favour Marcos.
The PET or electoral tribunal should put a lid on Robredo and her lawyers. They should shut up and let the process continue without further delay. She is trying to undermine the result of the VP vote recount. As long as she is talking to the media, the outcome of the recount will not be respected and accepted by her rabid supporters. They seem to be glad Marcos was cheated out of the VP post anyway.
Is it enough to unseat Leni from the VP post if proven there was electoral fraud or should she be prosecuted as well? The public has the right to know the extent of her role in the alleged electoral fraud. We cannot let the perpetrators get away with their crimes. It will happen again if they do.
I don’t believe Robredo was aware of the lengths her allies went to to make her win. She is clueless. She will be shocked once proven she benefited from electoral fraud. But the problem with her is she is in denial there was electoral fraud. In a country where cheating during elections has become a tradition, it’s baffling she actually thinks she won the VP post considering popularity surveys before the elections showed Marcos was likely to win. One can be forgiven for saying she is too full of herself.
The people drumming up support for Robredo are ignoring the fact that the VP vote recount under the election tribunal is a legal process. They should respect the outcome. Just because it is emerging that Leni’s votes show a lot of irregularities doesn’t mean Marcos is manipulating it. As sure as the sun rises, Robredo and her supporters will go out on the streets as usual to protest the result. It’s as if showing she has supporters will change the outcome. We should give them the freedom to think and behave the way they want to if it helps them cope with their loss.
In life, things are not always what they seem.