Daily Tribune - Nobody is celebrating Robredo’s PET win

News & Interviews
21 February 2021

By Daily Tribune

Robredo may have reason to celebrate her win in the PET, but the fact that remains is that the people are not in the mood to celebrate with her.

Five years ago, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported that the winner of the May 2016 vice presidential election was Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo of the Liberal Party (LP), and that she won over her closest rival, ex-Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., by about 250,000 votes.

Many people doubted the veracity of Robredo’s claim to the vice presidency.

Her presidential running mate, the veteran politician Mar Roxas, was a poor second placer in the presidential derby, losing by almost seven million votes to the winner, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

How then could a largely unknown, one-term lackluster legislator from Bicol win the vice-presidential race?
People suspect that the controversial Smartmatic voting machines used by the Comelec were behind Robredo’s win, and they have good reasons to be suspicious.

During the 2016 elections, Smartmatic officials were billeted at the same hotel within the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City (also reputed as Araneta-Roxasland to those in the know) where the LP national campaign headquarters was located.

There were also news reports that several voting machines were seen at the same hotel on election day.

As for President Duterte’s poll win, political analysts believe that Duterte had so many votes so it was impossible for any voting machine system to make him lose.

Within the period prescribed by law, Marcos Jr. filed an election protest before the PET.

His protest was originally assigned to PET member and Supreme Court Justice Alfredo Caguioa, a good friend of President Benigno Aquino III and the husband of one of the campaign leaders of Robredo.

There were also news reports of a separate controversy involving PET personnel who attended an out-of-town party south of Manila hosted by the Robredo camp.

This was reported in the news.

Eventually, the election protest was reassigned to another anti-Marcos PET member, Justice Marvic Leonen, who is currently facing an impeachment complaint for his adamant refusal to make his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth accessible to the public, despite the constitutional mandate to the contrary.

After five long years, the PET last week finally came out with its decision dismissing the Marcos Jr. election protest on the ground that the allegations relating to anomalies in specified voting precincts were not substantiated.
The Marcos camp said it will study its available options.

In contrast, Robredo said the truth has finally come out.

Alas! Only the Robredo camp seemed jubilant.

Most of the newspapers and television news networks disseminated the story about the PET ruling the day after the decision was announced.

Beyond that, the story was no more.

Why not? The past five years provided everybody with more than enough time to realize that Robredo is a hollow politician with an insatiable desire for publicity, as seen in her underhanded attacks against President Duterte.
That was also enough time for many people to learn that Robredo does not know how to handle power, as seen in the way she goofed up her two chances to work in the Cabinet of the President.

Robredo’s claim that the PET decision allowed the truth to finally come out only underscores her inability to comprehend the decision.

The Marcos Jr. election protest was dismissed because, according to the PET, Marcos Jr. was unable to prove his claims relating to election fraud in specified areas in the entire country.

At best, therefore, the PET decision upholds the legal presumption that Robredo is the duly-elected Vice President of the Philippines, Smartmatic’s suspected role in her win notwithstanding.

Yes, Robredo’s claim to the vice presidency is based solely on that presumption.

That’s because the controversies relating to her computerized victory in the hands of the Smartmatic voting machines, as discussed above, have never been squarely resolved to the satisfaction of the electorate and of the media, mainly because Robredo and the LP have managed to avoid those issues for the past five years.

Robredo may have reason to celebrate her win in the PET, but the fact that remains is that the people are not in the mood to celebrate with her.

That should be enough to vindicate Marcos Jr.