Manila Standard Today - Out for pizza

8 February 2018

By Jojo Robles | Manila Standard Today 

Vice President Leni Robredo, I fear, is not really interested in speeding up the recount of the votes cast in the 2016 elections. If she really was, she’d be signing with her own hand a document stating that she is withdrawing all motions that she filed—and may still file—to delay the counting.

If Robredo were serious about accepting the challenge thrown down by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., she would declare her intentions herself, instead of letting her hired help, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, do the talking. But we only hear from Macalintal, whose latest stunt yesterday was going to a pizza restaurant with a supposed document he signed himself that purports to say that Robredo will withdraw all her motions.

Marcos signed his own petition for the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to withdraw all motions, past and future, so that the counting may begin. He had his lawyer bring that document to the Ortigas area office of Macalintal and his partner in the Robredo case, Ma. Bernadette Serdillo, for forwarding to Robredo; but Macalintal, who had apparently stepped out for a pizza, was not there to properly receive the Marcos-signed document.

(Serdillo, by the way, may be a lot less prominent than the veteran Macalintal, even if she is more than a match for him in the “big lie” department. It was Serdillo who declared that there was no need for Robredo to sign any document dropping all motions to delay the recount, since no such motions have been filed by Leni’s camp.)

I find Marcos lawyer Vic Rodriguez more believable here because Robredo seems to want to show that she wants a speedy recount by having Macalintal sign a document to that effect, while making sure that she can deny its authenticity by ensuring that she doesn’t sign it herself. And I find it truly suspicious that Robredo, who really isn’t as busy as she lets on, can’t even directly respond to Marcos’ challenge, allowing Macalintal and Serdillo to discuss it on her behalf.

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: Robredo’s strategy (as it has been laid out a long time ago by Macalintal) is to delay the recount for as long as she can, in the hope of convincing Marcos to abandon his protest and return to the Senate in next year’s elections. But now that Marcos has shown his resolve to continue with his protest all the way to the end, Robredo can only hope that Marcos is stymied until 2022, when any results of his protest will be rendered moot.

I’d call Macalintal and ask for his comment, but I think he hasn’t returned from his favorite pizza place.