The Philippine Star - Marcos: Statements on recount just observations, not prejudgment

24 April 2018

By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star

Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has insisted that his announcements on the recount proceeding were mere “observations” on recount procedure and not meant to influence the court or the public.

Marcos told the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that he “did not make any comment or disclosure pertaining to the revision proceedings that may be construed as prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice.”

The tribunal, on April 5, ordered Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for violating its earlier issued resolutions warning them against public pronouncements on the recount procedure.

The former senator, however, insisted that his claims of wet ballots and “missing” audit logs reported by media on the first day of the recount were “limited to his personal observation of what transpired during the revision.”

“To be sure, the legal counsels of the protestant repeatedly requested that the Adhoc Revision Committee of this Honorable Tribunal to issue media advisories in connection with the ongoing proceedings so that they will not be forced to grant any interview in order to clarify the developments in this election protest,” he added.

"So far, we opened [ballots from] Bato, for four precincts, all the ballots are wet. They have been recently wet. Well, if they were wet during election day, they should've been dry now,"
"I think this should really be scrutinized. It means that there is someone who made these ballots wet, someone opened the ballot box," Marcos said on April 2.

"Now, those are missing. Someone pulled them out of the boxes," he also said of audit logs that he claimed have gone missing.

Noting the tribunal’s show-cause order, Marcos has vowed to exercise “more prudence” in dealing with the members of the press.

Robredo, in her respective 16-page compliance, maintained that she and her counsels did not disclose “sensitive information” to the public regarding the recount. She pointed out that it was Marcos and his spokesperson Vic Rodriguez who gave statements mere hours after the recount started on April 2.

‘Robredo camp influencing the public’

Marcos also accused the camp of Robredo of misleading the public with an opinion piece written by one of the vice president’s counsels, that was published by an online news agency.

He cited the opinion article of April 8 by Emil Marañon III, whom Marcos says is one of Robredo’s counsels on record, talking about “Marcos lies” on “missing audit logs and wet ballots.”

Georgina Hernandez, spokesperson of Office of the Vice President, told in text message that Marañon is "not a counsel of record" of Robredo, but is a "consultant to the team."

“The misleading pronouncements and opinions from the camp of [Robredo] with regard to the revision proceedings and this election protest compelled [Rodriguez] to clarify and explain the truth to the general public,” the former senator added.

Marcos reiterated that his spokesperson was merely clarifying the “manipulations” of Robredo and her camp when he made statements regarding their claims.

Marcos, son of the late dictator and his namesake, accused Robredo for committing electoral fraud to win the vice presidency in the 2016 national elections. Recount on his poll protest started on April 2, and is currently ongoing at the Supreme Court compound in Manila.