Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the "correct" results of the 2016 vice presidential race will be known within the year if the manual recount will start this month.
"Kung maumpisahan na this month, palagay ko oo, palagay ko may lalabas na na resulta," Marcos said at a forum in Quezon City, referring to the electoral protest he filed against Vice President Leni Robredo..
"Naka-ready na kaming lahat, inaantay na lang namin 'yung tribunal na sabihin, 'on this day'. Umaasa nga kami na sa October gagawin."
The manual recount will involve contested ballots in three pilot areas, namely Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has already created a team to locate and retrieve ballot boxes from the contested areas.
Marcos estimated the recount, to be done on 50 tables, will be completed within two months.
"Sa estimate namin, sa umpisa, dahil kumakapa pa, mga one ballot box per day per table. Pero siguro pag bumilis na yung proseso, baka two, kaya na ng two ballot boxes per table per day. So, between...one month, two months, tapos na," he said.
Not so fast
Robredo's lawyer, Maria Bernadette Sardillo, meanwhile said this is unlikely.
"Kung tapat lang siguro si Ginoong Marcos, hindi niya maipagkakaila na mahigit pa sa tatlong buwan ang kailangan para matapos ang proseso ng retrieval at recount," Sardillo said in a statement.
She called Marcos' estimate a "malicious statement meant to condition the minds of the public regarding his impending loss."
"We are not aware where he obtained his data regarding the results of the 2016 elections and his information that his protest will be decided this year," Sardillo said.
The manual recount of ballots in the three pilot areas is one of two remaining causes of action in Marcos' electoral protest against Robredo.
The other is the nullification of election results for the position of vice president in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan because of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters and pre-shading of ballots.
The PET has dismissed Marcos' first cause of action, or the proclamation of Robredo's victory as "null and void" on account of the "unauthentic" Certificates of Canvass that were the basis of the votes Robredo received.
Marcos' electoral protest is more than a year old. He filed it before the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, on June 29, 2016, one day before Robredo's oath-taking ceremony. Robredo filed a counter-protest on August 15, 2016.
Asked if he would press charges against Robredo if it is proven that cheating occurred in the 2016 vice presidential race, Marcos claimed he is not interested.
"I'm not going after anybody," Marcos said. "Basta I want to show na talagang hindi tama yung resulta na pinalabas ng Comelec at may ginawa ang Smartmatic para baguhin nga ang mga numero, ang resulta."
Marcos lost to Robredo in the May 2016 elections by 263,473 votes. —KBK, GMA News