If I were Leni Robredo, I wouldn’t be reminding people of what happened back in 2016 when allegations of electoral fraud marred what was supposed to be an “important” national election. In arrogantly proclaiming that she handily beat rival candidate Bongbong Marcos for the vice presidency back then, old wounds have been opened including those to do with the persistent mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Andy Bautista who was Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman at the time.
“Ako, it doesn’t make sense. Kung gusto namin siya ipa-disqualify dapat sana no’ng laban pa namin ng VP,” Robredo told reporters in a press conference in Negros Occidental on Friday.
“Saka kung ang purpose ng disqualification para maalis siya sa contest na ito, hindi naman kailangan. Naglaban na kami no’ng 2016, nanalo naman kami na walang ganyan,” she added.
Perhaps it might not have occurred to Robredo that her camp, the Liberal Party (LP), at the time were not as clued in on just how formidable an opponent they were up against — which is why a desperate stunt like disqualifying an opponent (such as what is being attempted today) was not in the cards early in the campaign. Indeed, many observers looked back at how desperation on the part of the Yellowtards kicked in late into the campaign as then candidate Rodrigo Duterte pulled far ahead of LP bet Mar Roxas at the eleventh hour.
With just hours to go and the presidency all but lost to Duterte, Robredo became the Hail Mary Pass that needed to deliver a score for the Yellowtards. Many observers are convinced that the designated wide receiver in those final hours of the election was the then COMELEC chair who, it seems, went on to deliver on his assignment paving the way for Robredo’s self-proclaimed “win”. As the story goes, that successful delivery came at a cost and so now, the mystery persists: Where is Andy Bautista?
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Did Robredo know what may have been going on behind the scenes back then? That too is a mystery. Just hours after the shocking statistical improbabilities that accompanied the VP count (a seeming “neck-and-neck race”) were picked up by keen watchers, Robredo joined the rest of her LP ilk in parroting what came across as a prepared script wrought in the midst of what looked like an orchestrated ruling out of any possibility of fraud. Never mind that authorities — presumably led by the COMELEC — are duty-bound to investigate all allegations. Never mind that there was no basis on such short notice to rule out the possibility of fraud. Never mind that Smartmatic personnel implicated in the allegations were mysteriously allowed to leave the Philippines.
Did Leni Robredo actually win the vice presidency in 2016? Is she the Philippines’ rightful VP today? All that remains debatable because the COMELEC had left many questions unresolved, had tainted evidence pertinent to the case, and may have been complicit in allowing Bautista who had, by then, become a person of interest in the case to leave the country. In short, the case remains open today as far as millions of Filipinos are concerned. Robredo may have been proclaimed VP by a Filipino judge, but so have many other top officials under similarly dubious circumstances in the past following unlawful spectacles commonly associated with the Yellowtard “people power” narrative: Cory Aquino proclaimed “president” after the 1986 EDSA coup d’etat, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the “EDSA II” lynching of Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
Anything can be made “legal” in the Philippines if a big enough mob of cherry-picked participants gives the thumbs-up and a Philippine judge can be suckered into being an accessory to the fraud that follows.
Aren’t we all glad Leni Robredo is around to remind us of these things?
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.