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Robredo should now resign

The Supreme Court en banc is expected to vote overwhelmingly today, Oct. 8, to junk the draft report of Justice Benjamin Caguioa recommending the dismissal of the election protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

This victory is just the first step for Marcos. It means the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is convinced that rampant fraud attended the elections for the VP position in the May 16, 2016 election. It is a signal for phase two to conduct manual recount in other provinces to proceed.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal is right when he said that win or lose, Robredo would still be sitting as VP. But this decision erodes the credibility of Robredo’s victory. The PET has found evidence of fraud as claimed by Marcos. Her victory becomes empty. It is a paper victory. She stole the vice presidency from the people.

Under the circumstances, Robredo should resign. She lost all moral right to stay on as vice president. Each time she appears in public as VP, she will look repugnant to the Filipino people. This is particularly so because the latest SWS survey shows her satisfaction ratings to have dropped to 50% only. The Filipino people continue to reject her.

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A BBM victory in the offing?

With four days left before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), convenes to deliberate and vote on the results of the manual recount, speculations have been flying thick, and a veteran journalist even saying it’s going to be an 8-6 vote in favor of Bongbong Marcos.

That a vote has already been taken ahead of the Oct. 8 schedule is not unusual. Justices usually signify their votes so that it can be established what the majority’s position is, and a ponente assigned to write the decision. The Oct. 8 session is more of a formality, perhaps with clarificatory questions, before the final vote is made.

Citing sources, Philippine Star columnist Federico Pascual, Jr. said the outcome is 8 justices voting to rule that fraud was uncovered in the manual recount and allow Marcos to continue with the revision of ballots in other provinces he identifies. Six voted in the negative, which basically means that there is significant fraud that could change the outcome of the elections.

It must be emphasized that this doesn’t mean that Marcos will be declared the winner, and Leni Robredo to step down. It will simply affirm what Marcos had claimed: that there was massive cheating in these pilot provinces. If the recount show lower number of votes for Robredo, and a higher number for BBM, then that would be reflected in the results.

Victory for BBM will have to wait at least one more year, that is assuming the pace of the second part of the manual revision will proceed much faster. Still, it will be a big blow on Robredo, for it will prove she had won by cheating. Her hold to her position, already shaky as it is, will grow weaker and weaker.

Suspense: Nation awaits verdict on Leni-Bongbong case

Like most Filipinos, I am eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s announcement on the manual recount conducted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for ballots cast in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur in the May 2016 elections for Vice President.

It’s been three years since former Senator Bongbong Marcos filed a protest on the results of the elections and challenged the victory of Leni Robredo in the VP race. Based on the results, Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes. It was a hairline victory at best, and Marcos’s protest has drawn widespread belief that he is the rightful VP.

On Sept. 10, 2019, the Supreme Court spokesman, Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka, told media that the PET chaired by Justice Benjamin Caguioa, had submitted the results of its revision for the three pilot provinces. He declined to give a clue on the contents of the report.

The announcement triggered a flood of speculations in social media. Was there really fraud in these three provinces? If we look back to the revision activities during last year, there were instances when tell-tale signs of ballot boxes being compromised were discovered. The ballot boxes have security features to ensure that the contents are not manipulated or destroyed. The condition of many boxes put the integrity of the ballots in question.

We can imagine our Supreme Court Justices going over the PET report with a fine-toothed comb. As Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said, the High Court has to go carefully on this matter because of the paramount public interest involved. But we also hope that the agonizing wait will not last too long. Filipinos want to know the truth.

Marcos needs only to prove one thing with this first phase of the protest: that indeed, cheating had taken place in the three pilot provinces. Nobody can tell as yet on just how much cheating did take place, if any. But a finding to that effect would be fatal to Robredo even if the recount’s results fail to change the result to favor Marcos.

Robredo as presidential bet in 2022: pure hallucination

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV believes that Vice President Leni Robredo is the opposition’s best bet to run as President in 2022. He described her as a “widow to be reckoned with.” Well, everybody is entitled to dream big. But this one is pure hallucination. Robredo is the worst candidate the opposition can field against the administration in the next Presidential elections.

For one thing, Robredo’s ascendancy to the Vice Presidency is shrouded in doubt amid allegations of massive cheating. Iloilo is one of the pilot provinces chosen by former Senator Bongbong Marcos in his protest for recount. I have reason to be believe the results of the elections in 2016 was manipulated to give Leni a big margin in Iloilo.

Heck, she was a total unknown in Iloilo. How could she have obtained the 573,829 votes canvassed in her favor as against Marcos’s 94,411? Bongbong Marcos has many followers in Iloilo, especially among the older voters. His wife’s family, the Aranetas, also wields considerable influence in Iloilo. Had she just won by a 100,000, that would have been more believable.

Anyway, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is reportedly set to announce the results of the recount. We’ll wait and see what the outcome is.

But to say that Robredo is presidential timber is far, far off the mark. It is a wild, wild dream of an opposition incapable of putting up a credible candidate for the Presidency. There will be no President from that side of the fence for a long, long time.

Leni loses 21K votes after just 3 weeks

Leni votes going down

Photo credit: ATTY. GLENN CHONG FACEBOOK WALL

 

The slide is gaining momentum.

After just three weeks, and 500 clustered precincts, Vice President Leni Robredo has lost an estimated 21,000 votes in the on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race at the Supreme Court which is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

This was reported today, May 2, 2018, by Atty. Glenn Chong, citing information from unnamed revisors, in his Facebook wall.

At the end of three weeks, the lead of Robredo over former Senator Bongbong Marcos has gone down to 242,000 votes. Robredo was proclaimed the victor in the Vice Presidential race for the May 9, 2016 elections with a lead of 263,473 votes.

There are still 1,300 clustered precinct ballot boxes to be opened and scrutinized for Camarines Sur and another 4,000 clustered precincts from Negros Oriental and Iloilo provinces which Marcos had identified as pilot provinces where massive electoral fraud had allegedly taken place.

Atty. Chong said that at the rate the votes of Robredo are being reduced, her lead could go down to 20,000 votes once all the clustered precincts from the three pilot provinces have been revised.

If it does go down to 20,000 votes, then Marcos will have proven his point that rampant cheating had taken place and thereby pave the way for more provinces being scrutinized for more electoral fraud.

This early, the fraud in Robredo’s victory is already very clear to most Filipinos who are closely monitoring the on-going manual recount. There are already calls for her to resign in the same manner as Senator Migz Zubiri when a recount into the protest of now Senate President Koko Pimentel became clear that the latter was the winner.

Wet ballots a tactic to delay manual recount

A few days ago, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, lawyer for Leni Robredo, said the manual recount could drag on for six years. Ordinarily, that statement is to be taken with a grain of salt. But the discovery of wet ballots not only in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal where the electoral protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos is being heard since April 2, I can see that this is the tactic adopted by the Liberal Party to prevent an early resolution.

Yesterday, my sources at the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) revealed that ballots in the third district of Camarines Sur were also found to be wet. These were from the town of Calabanga and Naga City. After the HRET is finished with these ballots, they will have to be stuffed back into the boxes and delivered to the PET. Well, the ballots might already have dried up by then. But the PET will only find what is now known: the ballots are useless for purposes of revision.

This is no longer an accident of nature. My guess is that wet ballots will ultimately be found in all towns of Camarines Sur when the revision committees at the PET shall have completed the task of opening each ballot box and taking out their contents. Is there any other conclusion we can reach with these discoveries of wet ballots? This wasn’t the work of nature; it was done by human hands.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal was quick to downplay the discovery of wet ballots. Marcos, he said, has no evidence of the fraud that he is claiming. Well, he is right in a way. That’s because the water soaked ballots have been rendered unreadable. It will prevent the revisors from doing what they have been mandated to do: examine each ballot to find out to which candidate an individual vote went. There is nothing to read anymore, that’s why.

I will now connect this to what Macalintal said about the manual recount taking as long as six years. He is conditioning the mind of the people to expect further delays in knowing the truth. With the wet ballots no longer readable, the revision committees will have to turn to the image captures of the individual ballots as these were inserted into the VCMs. This will take time, a long, long time.

The facts are clear. Soaking the ballots with water to render them unreadable is a delaying tactic. It will frustrate the bid of Marcos to determine the genuine outcome of the elections for Vice President in the soonest possible time. The Liberal Party has resorted to a crude ploy to force the manual recount to slow down to a crawl. Only Leni can possibly benefit from a delay. If the manual recount goes beyond 2022, as what Macalintal hinted at, then the whole process will become moot and academic.

With this scenario, the Filipino people will have to guard against further destabilization efforts of the Liberal Party in a desperate move to topple President Rodrigo Duterte and push Leni to the Presidency. We have also to pray that the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, will not allow these delaying tactics to succeed.

 

Are wet ballots “common” in election protests?

ballot box designReacting to the claims made by former Senator Bongbong Marcos that the discovery of wet ballots in the ballot boxes from four clustered precincts in Bato town in Camarines Sur were strong indications of tampering and cheating, Atty. Romeo Macalintal, lawyer for Vice President Leni Robredo, said such occurrences are “common” in election protests.

But how common is common?

Perhaps Atty. Macalintal forgot that the ballot boxes used in the automated elections are different in design from those used when the casting of votes was still done manually. The new ballot boxes are designed for maximum security, even for protecting ballots from sunlight, which could affect ultra violet markings that are part of the security features.

These ballot boxes are not susceptible to being penetrated by water as in a heavy rain. Besides, these ballot boxes are supposed to be stored in covered areas with adequate security measures. Comelec recognizes the importance of these ballot boxes and their contents in electoral protests, which is what is now before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Atty. Macalintal is trying to confuse the public and shield his client from damnation from Filipinos who are now presented with strong proof that there was cheating to make the victory of Robredo possible. Data manipulation in the transmission of results is what is believed to have caused Marcos to lose to Robredo by a hairline margin of 263.473 votes.

This scenario has gained credibility as early as right after the proclamation of Robredo because of the almost miraculous turn-around in the counting in the morning of May 10, 2016. The night before, just hours after voting precincts across the country closed and started transmission of results, Marcos lead by as much as 900,000 votes over Robredo. It was a trend. But the canvassing was stopped before midnight. When the canvassing resumed the next morning, Robredo suddenly bounced back with an initial 8,000 lead. This grew to 263,473.

Hence, the public should reject the lame excuse of Atty. Macalintal that the ballot boxes were deluged by heavy rains during  a typhoon in Camarines Sur. The dousing of water into ballot boxes was a common tactic when the voting was still done manually. But with the advent of PCOS, such cheating tactic was rendered inutile because there was no way to stop the transmission of votes. This time, the soaking of the ballots was done to render the ballots useless, because the damage made it impossible to read.