Manila Standard Today - Who’s afraid of Bongbong?

By Jojo Robles | Manila Standard Today 

Even if nothing comes of it, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has an obligation to pursue his electoral protest against Vice President-elect Leni Robredo. And Marcos’ obligation is to all of the millions who voted for him and who cannot accept the official result of one of the most hotly contested elections this country has ever seen.

After all, Robredo and her followers have always demanded that Marcos prove his allegations of electoral fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Commission on Elections and its Venezuela-based election systems provider, Smartmatic. Filing a post-proclamation protest, which Marcos promised to do by the end of this month, is the first step towards doing exactly that.

And so I must disagree with election lawyer Romulo “Mac” Macalintal, Robredo’s counsel, when he said that Marcos should reconsider his plan to file a protest simply because it is too expensive and may be nullified if Marcos runs for some office or another in the 2019 midterm election.

The more prudent statement from Robredo and her camp, if they are truly convinced of her victory, is to make the proper—and properly hypocritical—noises about letting Marcos exercise his right to a protest.

It makes no sense for Macalintal to advise Marcos on what to do, just as it has always bothered Robredo’s critics that she had herself photographed while supposedly waiting for a bus in Makati where no bus ever stops. As Marcos lawyer George Garcia said, with no small amount of sarcasm: “Why is he so concerned about us, when he’s not doing the filing?”

For me, regardless of how Marcos’ protest is decided by the appropriate bodies in the proper forums, if it will lead to a rethinking of how the past three automated elections have been run by the Comelec-Smartmatic combine, that would already be a victory. And if Robredo’s win is overturned, that would just be a bonus.

For Robredo, an exoneration of Comelec-Smartmatic will remove the huge cloud of doubt that remains over her head to this day, the one that put an asterisk beside her still-unexplained victory, achieved simply because she was the candidate of the only group well-funded enough to pull off cheating at such a massive scale: the Aquino administration.

Let Bongbong pursue his protest. If Leni really won, she will have nothing to fear.