False claims about junked poll protest hurt democratic institutions — Robredo

Philstar
February 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — False claims about the electoral protest that former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and that has since been dismissed cast doubts on government institutions, she said Sunday.

To recall, the Supreme Court on Tuesday voted unanimously to junk the entirety of Marcos’ four-year-old vice presidential poll protest for lack of merit. The SC sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which handles poll protests on the presidency and the vice-presidency.

Speaking in an interview aired over her weekly radio show, Robredo lamented what she said was the damage dealt to the courts and the country's electoral processes, which she, too, had to go through.  

"Marcos owes his supporters. What happens to the people who believed in his propaganda and fake news? He wronged them. That's his fault...and instead of accepting his loss, he's still trying to cast doubt on the integrity of our institutions," the vice president said in Filipino. 

"It's saddening that they're still attempting to spread fake news that it hasn't been dismissed with finality yet. This isn't just simple lying. We saw how a politician's ambition to get his goal can make him willing to destroy institutions."

"For me, it's like he didn't care about the damage to democratic institutions just for political gain. That's the most serious part about this."

In response to the High Court's decision, a spokesperson for Marcos said incorrectly that the poll protest was still on despite the junking — a statement the court was quick to correct. 

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has since said that Marcos, who has signalled his intent to run in the 2022 national polls, may still appeal the dismissal. 

The vice president's spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, reiterated in the radio show that the Supreme Court has already decided the case.

"If the decision is unanimous, there's an extremely low chance that it will be overturned. Their basis was very clear. They said that Marcos did not prove his allegations behind his protest. That was a very direct conclusion, and the entire court agreed with this decision. It looks decisive and final," the lawyer said in mixed Filipino and English. 

The Supreme Court has yet to release the full decision on the case.The SC Public Information Office, when the decision was announced, said that "seven members fully concurred in dismissal while eight concurred in the result." The decision is still unanimous despite the differences in the voting.  

"We thank the PET. Hopefully, this process on this particular protest can become a precedent moving forward. From the very beginning, it was clear to us that there was no cheating and that her win was a legitimate one," Gutierrez said.

"But for as long as there is a pending protest, anyone can come up with an accusation. That's what we experienced. Even when the recount's results came out, they were still making up stories and numbers." 

"Even now he's trying to change the narrative. It's saddening that it's not even between us anymore. It's not just Marcos vs. Robredo. When you destroy democratic institutions, you're also destroying the country," Robredo said for her part. 

— Franco Luna with a report from Kristine Joy Patag 


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