Will Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo gain votes in the ongoing vote recount by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) of the vice-presidential elections in 2016 if a revisor in the camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is prohibited from using a cellfone-size plastic magnifying glass in examining the ballots?
How is the public interest in the recount served when Ms. Robredo and her camp employ this issue to again delay the recount, now that it is being conducted on the ballot boxes from Iloilo province?
Will Ms. Robredo, hand on heart, tell us whether she is seriously interested in permitting PET to get at the real truth about the VP balloting in the vote recount?
We are constrained to raise these questions because we have already seen an inordinate delay in the recount of the votes through the various tactics being employed by lawyers representing the contending parties. And we fear another delay will ensue if PET allows a disputation over the plastic magnifying glass.
This may be the intent of Ms. Robredo’s lawyers, but she should realize by now that these tactics do her case and public standing very little good. The unfortunate conclusion of the public is that she dreads the discovery of the truth about the vote results.
Suppose PET forbids the Marcos revisors from using eyeglasses or anything other than their eyes in examining the ballots. Would that sensibly produce a credible vote recount, and preserve Robredo’s alleged electoral triumph?
The public has already seen enough factual evidence of fraud and irregularities during the elections in the province of Camarines Sur to be really anxious about the vote recount in Iloilo.
These doubts are reinforced by the fact that the Iloilo province was billed as bailiwick of the administration party in 2016. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who was also a candidate at the time, comes from the province. His cousin was mayor and candidate for reelection in Iloilo city. He has since gone into hiding after being exposed as one of the local government officials heavily involved in the illegal drug trade within his jurisdiction. The Aquino administration poured a ton of resources into the election in Iloilo.
Given these circumstances, there is legitimate reason for the public to suspect that electoral fraud was indeed committed in Iloilo during the 2016 elections.
When you stand up the reported Iloilo results against the reality that Mr. Marcos beat Ms. Robredo in all cities and municipalities in Metro Manila and in the majority of regions, we face a mountain of disbelief in Ms. Robredo’s victory in the elections.
And if we factor in then-President Aquino’s command to his government henchmen to prevent a Bongbong Marcos victory at all cost, we have a situation which some are tempted to consider “an open and shut case” of election cheating in the 2016 VP elections.
It is in this light that we urge now the vice president to review her position and evident strategy of delay in the VP election recount. We think her interest will be better served if she fully endorses the speedy conduct of the vote recount. She should focus her attention on obtaining victory in the recount and thereby gain legitimacy as vice president.
We think VP Robredo should be among the first to seek a truthful recount of the Iloilo ballots. If she does, she will gain immeasurably from a measure of public respect.
If after credible recounts in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, Ms Robredo is sustained in her electoral victory by PET, she will be accorded full acceptance and support by the Filipino nation.
Then can she stand head high as truly the vice president of the Philippine Republic.