Robredo, Marcos camps point fingers amid recount 'challenge'

MANILA, Philippines – Whose fault is the delay in the recount of votes for vice president?

According to the two camps at odds, it's each other.

In a statement issued on Sunday, February 4, losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's lawyer, Vic Rodriguez, called on Vice President Leni Robredo to "sign a joint motion withdrawing all our outstanding motions so we could go straight to the recount."

"We have been instructed by Senator Marcos to draft the joint motion and Senator Marcos is ready to sign it anytime. We are fervently hoping that Mrs Robredo will do the same," Rodriguez added.

But the Robredo camp, through lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo, denied they have a pending motion.

"They are the ones who actually have a pending motion. Just like the previous times that they have filed frivolous motions after the other to no end but delay the case," said Sardillo.

"It is pure PR because we don't have any pending motion," she added.

Rodriguez's statement echoes those made by Marcos himself in a press conference last week. Sardillo's, meanwhile, echoes that of Robredo lead counsel Romulo Macalintal.

The exchange is the latest in a long list of both legal and media barbs traded by both camps, amid Marcos' allegation that Robredo cheated during the 2016 elections.

In a press conference on January 29, Marcos claimed ballot images from certain areas showed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic conspired with the Robredo camp to rig the polls.

Macalintal called Marcos' allegations "highly ridiculous if not outright frivolous."

Election lawyer Emil Marañon III, among those who have been consulted by the Robredo camp, pointed out in a Rappler opinion piece that the "shocking" evidence that Marcos presented were merely new features on the 2016 ballot.

Still, the Marcos camp insisted on Sunday that the "challenge" of withdrawing all pending motions would "hasten the process."

The former senator's camp lamented that it has been two years since they questioned the results of the vice presidential race, but "we have yet to see a single ballot."

The Robredo camp, meanwhile, said it was another example of a "Marcosian tactic" and "another day of revising history and confusing the public," in reference to the former senator's late father and namesake, who ruled in a dictatorship.

"If they really want a recount, they should go to the PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal) instead, not the public. It's the PET which will decide the merits of the case," said Sardillo. – Rappler.com