Robredo rejects Marcos inhibition plea

VICE President Maria Leonor G. Robredo has opposed a plea by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and the Office of the Solicitor General for a magistrate to inhibit himself from his election protest due to alleged bias.

In a 12-page counter-manifestation, Ms. Robredo told the Presidential Electoral Tribunal it was Mr. Marcos who had caused the delay after he refused to accept the election results.

“The delay in the resolution of this election protest can only be ascribed to the steadfast refusal of protestant Marcos to accept the plain and simple truth — he lost, not once but twice,” according to a copy of her plea.

Ms. Robredo said Mr. Marcos “follows the same frivolous route” he took when he sought the inhibition of Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa in 2018 also for alleged bias. The tribunal denied his plea then.

Mr. Marcos has cited Mr. Leonen’s bias against the Marcos family, citing his dissent on a Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for the government to give his late father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos a hero’s burial.

“To follow the logic and reasoning of the protestant Marcos would result in an absurdity if not the inhibition of most, if not all the members of the honorable tribunal,” Ms. Robredo said.

She said the 10 justices who voted to allow the burial of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani could be accused of bias against her, following Mr. Marcos’s argument.

“Are the members of the high tribunal who have been appointed by President Duterte now biased in favor of protestant Marcos?” she added, noting that President Rodrigo R. Duterte had favored giving the strongman a hero’s burial.

Mr. Marcos filed the protest in June 2016 after narrowly losing to Ms. Robredo, alleging widespread fraud. In the Philippines, the President and vice president are elected separately and can come from different political parties.

Both are barred by law from seeking reelection. Their six-year terms will end in 2022.

A resolution released in October last year showed that Ms. Robredo’s lead against Mr. Marcos in the pilot provinces of Camariñes Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental — where he alleged cheating took place — rose by about 15,000 votes after the initial recount.

The tribunal this week warned parties in the election protest not to discuss the case to the media.

The court’s Public Information Office said the tribunal had reiterated its order for the parties to “strictly observe the sub judice rule,” which bars anyone from issuing comments that could interfere with the court’s handling of the suit. The court said any violations would be dealt with more severely. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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