Robredo remains VP whatever PET decides on initial recount – Macalintal

MANILA, Philippines – There will be no change in the vice presidency anytime soon, said Vice President Leni Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal, as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) gears for its crucial ruling in round 1 of the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The Supreme Court sitting as the PET is expected to soon rule on the initial recount, or a review of ballots in Marcos' chosen 3 pilot provinces. The PET will tackle again on Tuesday, October 8, Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa's report on the initial recount assessment. (READ: CHEAT SHEET: The Marcos vs Robredo electoral protest)

"Whatever will be the forthcoming resolution or decision of the PET, VP Leni remains as Vice President," Macalintal said in a statement on Sunday, October 6.

The process is this: under Rule 65 of the 2010 PET rules, after examination of the pilot provinces, the tribunal will decide whether to dismiss the protest at that level and affirm Robredo's win, or decide to proceed to further recount.

"If the PET says that Marcos has made a substantial recovery, then the PET will rule that the protest shall continue... In which case, Robredo remains as Vice President pending recount of ballots or returns from said 22 provinces and 5 Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs)," Macalintal said.

The initial recount of the 3 pilot provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental – took 1 year and 6 months.

Effect on Marcos

Marcos had asked the PET to proceed with the investigation of ballots in the Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao, but in an earlier resolution, the en banc said it could not probe into those ballots without resolving the pilot provinces first, pursuant to "the explicit mandate of Rule 65 of the PET rules."

But although the initial recount ruling retains Robredo as vice president, a political analyst said that a win for Marcos in this round would have big implications.

First would be its effect on the credibility of the electoral process. 

"It might strengthen perception na yung Comelec, palpak, may dayaan o miscount (that the Commission on Elections failed, or that there was cheating or miscount),"  Professor Ela Atienza, chair of the University of the Philippines' political science department, told Rappler in an earlier interview.

Atienza said it could also affect perceptions of the SC "of being subservient."

For Marcos, Atienza said it could bolster his chances for a potential 2022 run.

"And that can increase Bongbong Marcos' chance for the presidency in the next national elections because it will bolster his claim," she said. "It represents not just Marcos'possible running for office but the complete return to power of the Marcoses, their complete rehabilitation." – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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