MANILA — The camp of Sen. Bongbong Marcos said over the weekend that it will not stop the proclamation of Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as vice president but it plans to file electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“Definitely hindi po naming haharangin. Irerespeto muna natin ang mangyayaring proclamation,” lawyer George Garcia, lead counsel of Marcos said in a teleconference.
Based on the official tally made by Joint Confress sitting as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), Robredo posted 14,418,817 votes, against Marcos who had only 14,155,344, a slim margin of only 263,473 votes. Proclamation of the winning president and vice president is expected on Monday next week.
When asked why they no longer raised too much objections during the canvassing, he said it was a sign of respect for they knew that it was not the proper venue to argue their protests.
“Kung gusto lang naming i-delay ang proseso napaka dali po eh. I just stand up there and be a filibuster at mag raise ng kunwaring objections pero hindi po namin ginawa,” he pointed out.
“We respected the process, we respected the members of the board and we respected the will of the people na magkaroon na ng president at bise president na maiproklama,” he added.
Garcia said it was Marcos himself who instructed his legal team to respect the proceedings of the NBOC and just prepare for their next possible legal action.
“May mga nakita man kaming mali at meron man kaming mga ebidensya ay hindi nalang po namin ipinakita sa NBOC sapagka’t pinagha handaan na lang namin ‘yung susunod naming aksyon,” Garcia explained.
According to Garcia, among their next options is to file an election protest before the PET. He said that Marcos was still weighing this option as the huge amount of money and efforts an election protest entails.
“Madami kasi kaming kino-consider pa. Katulad nung gastos. Alam naman po natin na yung protesta medyo magastos yan. Kakatapos lang po ng election at medyo malakihan po yung gastos siyempre kino-consider din po ni Senator Marcos yung kanyang options,” Garcia emphasized.
He said that based on his previous experience of handling an election protest case, the protester for a national post might spend around Php30 to Php50 million for protest the vote results just for 12 to 15 provinces.
“Talagang napakalaking gastos. Papakuha mo lahat ng ballot boxes to the extent na papakuha mo ang mga ballot images, para ma-compare mo,” he stressed.
Garcia said they had “convincing” evidence of possible election fraud. They have two months after the proclamation to decide if they will push through with electoral protest.
During the canvassing, the Marcos camp had repeatedly pointed out the undervotes for each certificate of canvass (COC) for the vice presidential race.
In the end, some 3.9 million under votes were registered in the vice presidential race.
“We suspect that these votes were credited to other candidates…. We believe these votes belong to Bongbong Marcos,” Garcia said.
He said that should Marcos decide to pursue a protest against Robredo, their team is prepared to gather evidence. Aside from under votes, they will look into the introduction of a new script or computer command in the Commission on Elections server on May 9, and the zero votes that Marcos received in some towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal earlier explained that they will respect the senator’s decision on the possible filing of election protest.
“Siyempre iginagalang ko kung ano mang aksyon ang gagawin ng kampo ni Sen. Bongbong Marcos,” Robredo said.
“Pero ano man ang kanilang gagawin, syempre ihahanda rin namin ang aming sarili kung sakaling kami pa rin ang kukunin ni Ms. Robredo in the event na magkaroon nga ng election protest,” he said. Sammy Martin/PNA/northboundasia.com