MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo accused defeated candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr of using fraudulent witnesses in his election protest.
Robredo filed her response to Marcos' election protest on Monday, August 15, asking the Supreme Court to dismiss it for "utter lack of merit."
"May mga testigo po na humarap sa amin na nagsasabi na hindi totoo ang pirma nila sa salaysay na 'kinabit ni Ginoong Marcos sa kanyang protesta at karamihan po, actually lahat po ng kinabit niyang salaysay sa kanyang protesta ay pro forma, o minsan fill in the blanks lang po," Robredo's lawyer Bernadette Sardillo told reporters.
(Some witnesses told us that their signatures on the affidavits attached to Mr Marcos' complaint were forged, and most of the affidavits, actually all of the affidavits attached to his protest, are pro forma or just fill in the blanks.)
"Minsan may tumatawag sa kanila na sinasabihan sila na may benefits sila sa kung saang ahensya sa gobyerno para makuha lang ang ID," Sardillo added, noting that the witnesses tapped are from far-flung barangays.
(Sometimes, someone would just call them and tell them that they can claim benefits from a government agency, so the [Marcos camp] would be able to get their IDs.)
Sardillo said that since Marcos' request for a recount in thousands of precincts is based on the testimonies of these "fraudulent" witnesses, his protest should be junked.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is handling the election protest. (READ: SC grants Marcos petition to protect poll materials)
Marcos' spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, earlier filed a manifestation letter before the SC, to call for action on the alleged harassment of their witnesses, reportedly by Robredo's party, the Liberal Party (LP).
Sardillo, however, denied Rodriguez's accusation. She said their volunteers merely went to several provinces to verify the Marcos camp's supposed witnesses.
"Actually kaya lang po namin nalaman na hindi totoo 'yung mga salaysay na nakadikit sa protesta niya kasi, of course, may volunteers po hanggang ngayon," Sardillo said. "So pumunta sila sa probinsiya at nakipag-usap, nagtanong lang naman kung, 'Totoo ba 'to na sabi mo may dayaan?' Doon po lumabas ang kuwento na hindi totoo."
(Actually, the only reason why we found out that the signatures on the affidavits were forged is because we still have volunteers who want to help the Vice President. So they went to the provinces and talked to the supposed witnesses. They just asked, "Is it true that you said there was cheating?" That's how we found out they never claimed there was fraud.)
"Siyempre, kapag ikaw inakusahan ng isang pandaraya, gusto mo rin malaman kung totoo ang nangyari," Sardillo added.
(Of course, if you're accused of cheating, you also want to know what really happened.)
Asked how many fraudulent witnesses were discovered, Sardillo said they have no estimate.
"Paano magkakaroon ng basehan kung 'yung testigong nagsasabing may dayaan ay sinasabing hindi totoo iyon?" said Sardillo. (How will there be basis if the supposed witnesses themselves deny saying there was cheating?) – Rappler.com