The Daily Tribune - Let the recount begin

1 February 2018

By Charlie V. Manalo | The Daily Tribune

The other day, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, in a press briefing, exposed, what could clinch for him the victory in the 2016 vice presidential race.

In a powerpoint presentation, Bongbong presented images of ballots where “mysterious squares” appear in place of ovals that a voter shades to indicate their preferred candidate.

On one ballot, three vice presidential candidates were shaded. However, in his presentation, Bongbong showed the vote went to former Camarines Sur Congresswoman Leni Robredo instead of the ballot being declared as void or “over vote.”

Bongbong also showed copies of ballot images from Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental that showed votes for him were not counted and considered undervotes

According to Bongbong, they have discovered in many instances wherein his name was shaded but was being counted as an undervote.

That, according to him, is the reason the undervote for the vice president is so huge, totaling to more than three million.

Marcos also presented images of ballots using squares instead of oval shapes for shading, which was not the system used for the 2016 elections.

Overwhelmed by their discovery, Bongbong dared Robredo’s camp to drop all pending motions they have filed with regard to his protest and let the recount commence.

But instead of acceding to Bongbong;s challenge, Leni’s counsel was again up to his dilatory tactics.

Leni’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal countered that the supposed ballots were “fake and fabricated.”

“Its original copy was tampered with to remove the ovals and was then photocopied,” Macalintal was quoted telling reporters.

Macalintal even challenged Marcos to show the original copy of the ballots that he said were provided by the the Supreme Court, which is tackling his election protest against Robredo at the same time asking the Commission on Elections to investigate the issue, noting that tampering of election materials is punishable by 1 to 6 years of imprisonment.

Does the Robredo camp think Bongbong and his counsel are that dumb to risk facing jail time and losing face at the same time at this point in time when they have exerted so much time, effort and money, just for propaganda purposes?

Would they willingly lose everything just to claim victory by manufacturing evidence of which they are well aware, will be dismissed by Presidential Electoral Tribunal once the recount officially begins?

There seems to be no rhyme, no reason.

The issue of Bongbong’s protest is more serious than that.

Why can’t the Robredo camp just withdraw all their motions and let the recount begin?

Has she gotten too comfortable sitting on a post for almost two years now based on a questionable mandate that unraveling the truth, whether she won the vice presidential race legitimately or not, doesn’t matter to her anymore?

If Leni is really serious in looking after the welfare and interests of her constituents, especially those who continue to support her, she should instruct her counsel to put a stop to all these dilatory tactics and let the recount begin. She should stop exposing her supporters to ridicule coming from the camp of her opponent accusing her of sitting on a stolen position.

Let the truth be known. However much it hurts. For all we know, she might not even be aware someone cheated for her if indeed there was cheating in the last elections.

As far as we remember, the previous administration was hell-bent on stopping a Bongbong victory and it could have resorted to rigging the elections without Leni even being made aware of it.

And she could even use that line of reasoning to exit gracefully should she lose in the protest. Anyway, she could go back to selling lugaw to raise funds for the next elections. And she should do it now as the cold season is fast nearing its end. No one wants to eat lugaw on a hot summer afternoon.

But maybe she could shift to selling halo-halo by then.