‘Bongbong still fishing for evidence vs Leni’

‘Bongbong still fishing for evidence vs Leni’

Romulo Macalintal, one of the counsels for Robredo, said Marcos continues to “fish for evidence” days before the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), holds a preliminary conference on his electoral protest against Robredo. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, File

MANILA, Philippines -  Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. still has no evidence of fraud in last year’s vice presidential race, a lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.


Romulo Macalintal, one of the counsels for Robredo, said Marcos continues to “fish for evidence” days before the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), holds a preliminary conference on his electoral protest against Robredo.


Citing the preliminary conference brief submitted by the Marcos camp before the PET, Macalintal said the former senator clearly was “not sure how he wants to proceed with his protest.” 


He said PET rules required Marcos and Robredo to name not more than three provinces best exemplifying the electoral fraud and irregularities alleged in the protest and counter-protest.


Robredo’s lawyer said Marcos, son of the late strongman, named the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, and yet made a reservation to change any of these provinces.


“Such reservation is a clear manifestation that Marcos is merely fishing for evidence and not sure of his election protest. He could not establish which three provinces out of the 30 provinces and highly urbanized cities he protested could demonstrate his much talked about electoral frauds and irregularities,” Macalintal said. 


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He said Marcos is even prolonging his protest when he asked for the technical and forensic examination of all the ballots, ballot images, voter’s receipts, names of voters in the voting list and Election Day Certified List of Voters (EDCVL) from the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. 


“For the information of the entire Filipino people, such technical and forensic examination involves 3,235,000 documents from said provinces as it would involve the 647,000 official ballots and the corresponding 647,000 ballot images, 647,000 voter’s receipts, 647,000 names from the list of voters and 647,000 names from the EDCVL,” Macalintal said.


The veteran lawyer said Marcos would rely on the results of the technical examination, should he fail to prove his case during the recount of ballots. 


“This is not allowed under existing jurisprudence because once a protestant asked for recount, he could not disregard the results and seek other strategy,” he said. 


Macalintal also said Marcos asked to present the more than 18 million voters and thousands of members of the board of election inspectors from his protested 39,221 clustered precincts to identify their respective paper ballots and/or ballot images. 


“This is clearly incredible as it would take years to identify said ballots and ballot images by said registered voters,” the lawyer said. 


He said Marcos even asked the PET to allow him to present all the provincial election supervisors of the provinces he protested and the municipalities and cities comprising these provinces. 


“Such move clearly shows the incredible position of Marcos because these Comelec officials have no competence and ability to identify said election documents and the equipment used during said election,” Macalintal said.
Marcos had accused Robredo of massive electoral fraud but the latter also filed a counter-protest with the PET.  


Marcos is seeking the manual recount and judicial revision of the votes in 36,465 precincts and the annulment of results in 2,756 other precincts.  


The tribunal had moved the preliminary conference on the recount to July 11 from June 21. 


Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes in last year’s polls.