Journal Online - Dismissal of election protest no longer relevant Marcos preparing for 2022

18 February 2021

By Journal Online

FORMER Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will “surely” join the presidential race in 2022 elections.

This was made clear by his lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez who said that Marcos has started “preparing” for presidential election last January.

Rodriguez told CNN Philippines that Marcos camp’s mindset is that they are geared towards 2022 elections since January 1.

That is long before Associate Justice Marvic Leonen decided to finally release his ponente on Marcos electoral protest against Vice – President Maria Leonor Robredo and urged his fellow magistrates to concur on his arguments.

The main fight for the national and local polls in 2022 is the presidential post.

However, in his interviews in various media organizations, Rodriguez did not admit that Marcos is gunning for the highest post of the land.

What is clear is that Marcos will definitely join the national elections despite the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed two of the three causes of Marcos protest.

Rodriguez averred that the dismissal of Marcos electoral protest is “not relevant anymore” to presidential elections.

But, he did not categorically mention that Marcos is finally giving up the fight for his electoral protest.

PET decision clearly showed that it only thrown out two of the three causes of Marcos protests.

Rodriguez explained that “when we speak of election protest … in its strictest legal meaning it has .. acquire a legal meaning. Election protest pertains solely to manual recount and judicial revision… Surely, when you dismissed the entire election protest meaning the manual recount and judicial revision. [I]t follows that you have to dismiss the counter protest”.

“[W]e have two pending causes of action before the tribunal. One is the manual recount and judicial revision which is strictly election protest and the other one, the annulment, our third cause of action. The annulment of election results in the three provinces of Mindanao”, Rodriguez elaborated.

He strongly pointed out that Marcos is not putting an end on the third cause of his protest saying “it has been established during the numerous hearings and decisions and deliberations of the court that the third cause of action is separate, distinct and can proceed independently from the manual recount and judicial revision”.

Marcos’ electoral protest was filed in June 2016.

Robredo won by very small margin from Marcos, which strongly suggest that the veteran politician from the northern part of the country is undeniably has a large following.

This was affirmed by the first survey on presidential candidates done by Pulse Asia last November showed that Marcos is second to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte – Carpio.

Another survey done by another firm revealed that Marcos was also got the second highest votes.

The only difference with the second survey was that Marcos was “very close” to Carpio – Duterte.

This means that Marcos’s approval rating as a presidential candidate gained additional percentage points compared to Carpio – Duterte.

After this, Carpio, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, issued a statement stating that she is not interested to run for president.

She even urged Pulse Asia and other survey firms, for that matter, to exclude her in the presidential survey.

Tie with Marcos is Senator Mary Grace Poe in the two surveys.

Poe’s camp previously claimed that the lawmaker will not run for president in 2022 polls.

Other politicians who followed Marcos and Poe, but significantly far from them, in the same survey were all allies and supporters of President Duterte.

The only one who belong to the opposition is Robredo who was ranked sixth in the survey.

Robredo is the chair of the Liberal Party (LP).

LP lost all of its nine senatorial candidates in 2019 polls.

Roriguez made it clear that “regardless of the ultimate outcome of the decision [of the Supreme Court], regardless of the ultimate verdict of the tribunal, we will carry on at haharapin naminnang buong tapang ang kung anomang magiging hatol ng tribunal”.

“[T]he dismissal of the election protest, meaning the manual recount and judicial revision per se strictly, [are] no longer as impactful [compared to the years after Senator Marcos filed his electoral protest in 2016], siguro kung nilabas nila ito two years in to the life of the case. [M]aglilimang toan na tayo sa kasong ito nasa tatlong pilot provinces pa lamang tayo…. [K]ahitnaman sabihin nilang lets give due course to the election protest meaning the manual recount and judicial revision do they honestly believe na maniniwala pa kami na kaya namin pare-parehongtapusin ‘yung manual recount dun sa natitirang halos 20 probinsya pa e meron na lamang tayongisang taon at apat na buwang natitira? So its no longer impactful it did not produce any mark of impression at all”.