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Marcos camp determined to fight for poll protest until ‘fake VP ejected’

With the recount of votes still two months away, the camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday expressed determination to go through the process of proving that he won last year’s vice presidential race against incumbent Leni Robredo.

“BBM [Bongbong Marcos] is determined to see this through until the last ballot in the pilot provinces have been manually recounted with the real result reflected and the fake vice president ejected,” Marcos’ spokesperson Victor Rodriguez told GMA News Online.

Rodriguez’s reaction came after Robredo’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal, said Monday that not a single election protest since the start of automated polls in 2010 “involving local elective positions had been successful where the issue was merely recount of the ballots.”

Macalintal added there was no reason why the recount for a national position would be different considering that the ballots used for the local and national elective positions were the same and they were counted and tallied by the same vote counting machines (VCMs) and the consolidated canvassing system (CCS).

Rodriguez, however, said the reason why not a single election protest for president or vice president had been successful was because “no protest, in the era of automated election, ever reached nor have gone through past the preliminary conference.”

“It is only the protest of [former] Sen. Marcos that have come this far, the conduct of manual recount and judicial revision,” the lawyer said.

Sought for comment, Macalintal said he was standing by his statements.

“And there is no such thing as ‘fake VP’ but there is such a thing as a ‘fake protest’ like that of Marcos which will be fully exposed once the recount is completed,” Macalintal said in a text message.

The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will begin in February next year the recount of votes in connection with the election protest filed by Marcos.

The ballot recount covers the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental which were chosen by Marcos as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities alleged in his protest.

Macalintal said first to be reviewed are the ballots from the contested clustered precincts in Camarines Sur, the vice president’s home province, which will be retrieved on January 22, 2018 with the recount slated for second week of February.

This will be followed by the two other pilot provinces.

Macalintal said under the PET Rules, if Marcos could not prove any substantial recovery of votes from these three pilot provinces, the former senator’s protest will be dismissed for lack of merit. 

For Camarines Sur alone, Macalintal said P9.6 million would be charged to Marcos’ cash deposit for the retrieval of ballots, salaries and allowances of employees, security, transportation, and other expenses.

Macalintal and Marcos’ lawyer, George Garcia, were at the SC on Monday for a
meeting on the regulations governing the recount of votes and a tour of the venue for the recount process.

Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 election which the former senator claimed was marred by fraud. —KG, GMA News