Robredo and her supporters in the Liberal Party should be panicking already

Friday May 04, 2018 ()

The amazing thing is not that Leni Robredo has shed a reported 21,000 votes so far in the ongoing recount being conducted by the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. What's truly mind-boggling is that the reduction in Robredo's votes was recorded at all, given all the strange things that have happened to the ballots being recounted in her home province of Camarines Sur.

According to reports emanating from the PET, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is protesting Robredo's victory in the 2016 elections, posted a gain that is nearly 10 percent of the vice president's final official lead of 260,000 – with only a small portion of the Camarines Sur vote accounted for so far. This despite the fact that many ballots recovered from the province have been rendered unreadable due to what Robredo's lawyer once described as “normal” occurrences – everything from two-year-old rainfall that somehow entered waterproof ballot boxes and stayed there to battery acid in those same receptacles.

Robredo and her supporters in the Liberal Party should be panicking already

And the votes recounted do not as yet include those from big localities in Camarines Sur like the capital of Naga City, Iriga City and towns like Libmanan. It would be truly interesting to see how the vote goes in the recount in those places, especially in Naga, the bailiwick and anchor of Robredo's district when she was still a congresswoman.

Robredo and her supporters in the Liberal Party should be panicking already. Or at the very least, they should be scheduling a fresh round of pray-overs by the religious leaders who regularly storm the heavens with their petitions for Robredo to preserve her so-called victory.

The odds are definitely not in Robredo's favor. But of course, that's a familiar situation for her – nobody gave her a chance of winning, and yet she pulled it off overnight on that fateful day two years ago.

What's becoming a real possibility, as well, is for the vice-presidential protest to be decided in Camarines Sur alone. Apart from the recount itself, the anomalies that have been discovered in the ballots cast and in the boxes that are supposed to secure them could become numerous enough to warrant a nullification of the vote in the province.

In such a case, there will be no more need to continue the recount. A voiding of all the votes cast in Camarines Sur will already be sufficient grounds to nullify the results in Robredo's favor, according to legal experts I've talked to, thereby rendering her victory void as well and paving the way for her replacement by Marcos.

What can be expected to happen in this scenario is a storm of legal petitions from Robredo's camp, in order to stop the PET from unseating her even before the recount in all three provinces identified by Marcos is completed. And since we've long entered uncharted legal territory here, having gone where no protest has gone before, no one really knows what will happen.

What we do know is that the recount so far could force the hand of Robredo and her camp into trying extra-legal measures. You know, the kind of propaganda storm-cum-mass action strategy that has worked for the Yellows so many times before.


  • Yellow problems, Jojo Robles, May 4, 2018, The Manila Times

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