The Daily Tribune - Leni is running scared

18 February 2017

By Ninez Cacho-Olivares | The Daily Tribune 

Vice President Leni Robredo appears to be running scared after the ruling by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that gave the go-signal for the PET to proceed with former Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest as it dismissed her plea with the tribunal rejecting Robredo’s arguments that it has no jurisdiction over the case and that Marcos’ complaint lacked form and substance.

Robredo was quoted as saying the Marcos’ allegations have no proof.

Leni’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said they are filing a motion for reconsideration, even as stated that the Leni camp is unfazed by the development, confident that the findings of the PET will favor Robredo.

“We are confident that after all these processes, Vice President Robredo will still emerge as the winner,” he said.

But the possibility of Leni losing in the PET and the possibility of Marcos dislodging her certainly exist especially since the margin is only some 230 thousand votes.

This may well be the reason Leni now talks of Marcos getting a Cabinet position that she described as “scary.”

Following the history of non-action of the PET on previous electoral protests, the body merely waits for some three years as the PET waits for protestants to run for a senatorial post, for such protests to be deemed “abandoned” due to the protestants’ electoral run in the polls after a three years elapses.

It is not likely for Bongbong to take the same route of other VP protestants’ way. He will probably be offered a Cabinet post, which is why Leni sees this as “scary,” but not for the reasons she gives.

Earlier, Leni said a Cabinet position may afford Bongbong the chance to commit anew the abuses of which his family has been accused.

Leni, who speaks of Bongbong’s protest being full of allegations and without evidence, has herself indulged in allegations that cannot possibly be backed by evidence.

She was quoted as saying that for Marcos to have a Cabinet post is scary as he may just commit the same abuses as his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

She issued the comment amid an online report that Bongbong, who narrowly lost the vice presidency in the May 2016 polls, would take over as Interior secretary after the one-year appointment ban for losing candidates.

Marcos, who narrowly lost the vice presidency in the May 2016 polls, would take over as Interior secretary after the one-year appointment ban for losing candidates.

As for her claim that it would be scary to have Bongbong as an Interior secretary because he may be as abusive as his father, there is no proof of this at all.

For one, Bongbong has no Cabinet position at this time, but even if he joins the Duterte Cabinet, there is no evidence that Bongbong will commit the same abuses, or even be abusive.

One cannot charge anyone for committing abuses or even crimes even before the abuse or crime is committed. Leni, being a lawyer, should know this.

Leni’s claim is bereft of any evidence to prove her allegations against Bongbong. In the same way, her arguments presented before the PET was dismissed.

What is probably more accurate is that with the Supreme Court (SC) giving the protest of Bongbong to proceed, Leni is more scared that she would lose in a recount, and she would then be dislodged from her position as vice president.

Leni, as nearly all past VPs, is of course angling for the presidency, hoping to inherit the post should the president die, resigns, as her ally Sen. Antonio Trillanes hopes Duterte will resign, or if Rody is ousted, despite her denials that she is not interested in the presidency.

The probability of Bongbong being appointed to a Cabinet position is high, which means that the PET cannot come up with the excuse of dismissing the electoral protest of Bongbong on account of his having abandoned his protest, since he does not appear to be angling for another elected position in the Senate.

Of course, the PET can do the same as it did in the case of Mar Roxas who filed an electoral protest after he lost the vice presidency to Jojo Binay in 2010.

The PET waited until after the 2016 polls, to dismiss Roxas’ protest, as it was already moot.

But with SC’s greenlight to proceed with the protest, the chances of Bongbong being the rightful winner are really high and again, the LPs will be down and out, in 2019 and 2022.