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VP Robredo on manual recount: Nothing to fear

Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday assured her supporters that there is nothing to fear as the manual recount of ballots will affirm her victory in the 2016 national elections.

"Sinasabi natin na we're lifting everything [up] to the Lord. Walang dapat ikatakot, walang dapat ikahina ng loob," Robredo said in a statement.

"To all supporters and our friends who are here today, pinapasabi din (ito) ng ating lawyers: Wala tayong dapat ikatakot kasi katotohanan iyong ating pinaglalaban," she added.

The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is scheduled to proceed with the manual recount of ballots from over 5,000 clustered precincts on Monday, April 2.

The protest was filed by former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. who came second place during the 2016 polls.

Marcos is protesting Robredo's 263,473-vote margin of victory in the 2016 elections, which he claims was marred by fraud.

In accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the results of a manual recount of votes in three pilot provinces of the protestant's choosing will determine whether or not to proceed with the rest of the contested precincts.

Marcos' pilot provinces are Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental and cover 5,418 clustered precincts. He is also contesting 31,047 other clustered precincts.

Monday's recount came through after at least two postponements, both of which Marcos' camp claimed has been related to the psychological test requirement for the revisors for the recount.

For her part, Robredo joined her supporters in a Mass at the St. Scholastica's College in Manila.

"Nakikita natin, this is the time of fear—fear of what is going to happen next—pero manalig tayo. Gawin lang iyong dati nating ginagawa," she said.

"Maraming limitasyon, pero sa liit ng mundo natin ngayon, kailangan tayo. Kailangan tayo para tayo iyong magbigay ng liwanag, kasi kung tayo mismo iyong umayaw, lalong didilim iyong paligid. And so many people are looking up to us — for us to fight for them. Kaya patuloy lang tayo," she added.

Meanwhile, Robredo's legal counsel, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, said he is confident that favorable results would be released in two months.

"Wala pong katalo-talo, and in two months' time, malalaman po natin ang resulta," he said.

"Huwag po tayong maniwala na iyong natalo iyong nadaya, because there is the possibility na iyong nanalo ay siyang nadaya, pero hindi lang sapat ang nagawa noong mandaraya para matalo iyong tunay na nanalo. At iyan po ang patutunayan natin sa protest na ito," he added.

Macalintal reiterated that he will surrender his lawyer's license if Robredo loses in the poll protest case. — RSJ, GMA News