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    Opening Statements at the Press Conference of Vice President Leni Robredo & Legal Team

    Press Conference of Vice President Leni Robredo & Legal Team

    On the PET Resolution Dated Sept. 18, 2018

    Quezon City Reception House

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

    Well, of course, siguro alam niyo na iyong purpose ng aming presscon: iyong masayang balita that the Supreme Court, or the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, sustained our position that the 25-percent threshold on the shading of the ballots should be maintained.

    And we are very, very happy also because not only 25 percent ang kinonsider ng Supreme Court, kundi even as low as 20 percent threshold is now considered as a valid vote, insofar as the revision and the recount of the ballots are concerned. And the Supreme Court, ang naging basehan po ng Presidential Electoral Tribunal, ay iyong mga comments na ibinigay ng Commission on Elections, na in the 2016 elections, ang ginamit talaga nilang threshold ay 25 percent. In other words, the vote counting machines were configured to read ballots where the shading was at least 25 percent on the oval. And on the basis of that comment of the Commission on Elections, the Supreme Court sustained our motion that the 25-percent threshold should be adopted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

    And of course, kami ay natutuwa rin sapagkat ang ating Korte Suprema ay gumawa ng ganitong desisyon, which could be used as a guide or enlightenment in future electoral processes like this. And kaya lang naman hindi nagawa agad ng Korte Suprema ang bagay na ito, iyan po naman ay ipinaliwanag ng Korte Suprema na the Comelec did not immediately inform them that there was a change in the threshold. Because in the 2010 Elections, ang naging threshold na ginamit ng Comelec was 50 percent, and so in 2010 Elections, ang naging part ng rules ng Presidential Electoral Tribunal is that 50-percent threshold. But in the 2016 Presidential Elections, hindi na-inform ng Comelec ang PET na ginamit pala nila ay 25-percent threshold. And even in press releases made by the Commission on Elections, the Comelec advised the public to fully shade the ballots, and the Comelec did not even inform the public that the threshold was only 25 percent. Bakit sinabi ng Comelec sa publiko na kailangan i-fully shade natin iyong balota? Bakit hindi nila sinabi na iyong 25 percent ay bibilangin din? Kasi the Comelec, gusto nilang makasigurado na talagang iyong 25 percent—at least 25 percent of the [oval in the] ballot are shaded, otherwise baka magkaroon ito ng disenfranchisement of the voters. Kasi kapag sinabi natin na, “O, puwede na iyong 25 percent,” baka maging very lax ang mga botante, kaunti lang ang kanilang i-shade. Kaya ang ginawa ng Comelec, pinagsabihan ang publiko na kailangan 100-percent threshold ang kanilang gagawin.

    And we hope that in future electoral processes, or election protests like this, there would be proper coordination now between the Comelec and the Supreme Court, and all other electoral tribunals, before rules of the revision or recount of the ballots would be released or issued.

    Kaya we consider the resolution as a very significant legal and political victory on our part. And this will greatly boost the morale of our supporters, who were so worried with the reported reduction of Robredo’s votes due to this highly controversial threshold issue.

    Furthermore, the resolution debunked Marcos’ baseless claim that the use of the 25-percent threshold was tantamount to changing the rules in the middle of the game. The truth of the matter, as sustained by the Tribunal’s resolution, is that the 25-percent threshold was the rule adopted by the Comelec even before the start of the elections, but was not revealed to the public in order to apply the “intent rule” doctrine, to avoid disenfranchisement of voters in case they fail to fully shade the ovals on the ballots.

    And now that the resolution is effective immediately, we can already assure the public that the true results of the elections will confirm that our Vice President Robredo was the duly elected Vice President, in a clean and honest election, and that Marcos’ protest, from the very, very start, has no visible means of legal or factual support.

    OVP: Vice President Leni Robredo?

    VP LENI: Magandang umaga sa lahat.

    Nalaman namin iyong desisyon kagabi lang. Apparently, nilabas ito— Nagkaroon ng desisyon September 18, but the parties were only informed about it late yesterday afternoon. Ako nga, nalaman ko gabi na, kasi wala akong dalang telepono.

    Pero noong nalaman namin, pareho iyong description— Siyempre, kami—si Atty. Romy Mac, si Atty. Beng—kami lahat dito, parang lahat nakahinga. Ang description nito ni Atty. Romy Mac yata, para tayong FPJ: nagpabugbog muna nang napakatagal, ng dalawang taon, bago nakakita ng, parang, kaunting space para huminga.

    Pero napaka-welcome development siya. Inaasahan. Inaasahan namin kasi alam namin na kapag iyong Supreme Court nalaman niya kung ano iyong rules na ginamit ng Comelec during the 2016 elections, talagang ire-reconsider niya iyong kaniyang earlier ruling.

    Pero, again, kahit ito iyong expectation namin na klase ng resolution, noong dumating siya, masayang-masaya pa din. Masaya, dahil number one, alam namin na bibilis na, bibilis na iyong proseso. Noong umpisa, kami iyong inaakusahan, na kami iyong nagpapatagal. Pero hindi iyon totoo, dahil to our advantage na matapos na kaagad, dahil lalong hindi siya natatapos, lalong nagkakaroon ng avenue para mas maraming kasinungalingan at propaganda iyong ilabas.

    Number two, marami na kaming… sinabi niya, sinabi namin, na hindi alam ng tao kung sino iyong nagsasabi ng totoo. At kapag binasa natin iyong ruling, very specific—21 pages iyong ruling—makikita doon sa ruling na lahat ng kasinungalingan, parang, nasagot doon. Example lang ng kasinungalingan, kung naaalala niyo, mayroong pagkakataon na mayroon siyang propaganda na lumabas sa maraming mga, parang, media outlets na marami nang nabawas sa amin. If I’m not mistaken, parang ang propaganda noon 21,000 [votes] na iyong nabawas sa amin. Ngayon, very specific iyong korte na nag-a-agree sa pag-debunk namin noon na wala pang nababawas na kahit ano, sa kahit sino. Wala pang nababawas, wala pang nadadagdag. Kaya masaya kami, kasi ultimately kami iyong nakikita, na kami iyong nagsasabi ng totoo.

    Pangalawa, iyong sinasabi niya na may tampering, bakit may mga squares sa ballots, etc., etc., sinagot din iyon, sinagot din iyon ng PET na iyon ay feature. Iyon ay feature ng 2016 elections.

    Marami pang iba. Marami pang iba na kapag binasa natin iyong desisyon, masasabi natin na kami pala iyong nagsasabi ng totoo at hindi si Marcos.

    Iyong sa akin, para sa akin, iyong value ng desisyon hindi lang sa protest na ito, kundi sa lahat ng election cases, kasi it was overemphasized in the decision na kapag electoral cases, ang pinakamahalaga talaga, iyong intent ng voters. Ang sinasabi niya, na parating babalik tayo doon sa ano iyong gusto, ano iyong iniisip ng botante na boto, iyon iyong bigyan ng halaga. Tingin ko masasagot nito iyong lahat na kuwestiyon— Iyong 25-percent, iyong 50[-percent], ito iyong mga technicalities, pero iyong pinakamahalaga dito, iyong pagbibigay-halaga sa intent rule.

    Tinitingnan ko iyong desisyon, huminga din ako nang malalim noong nakita ko, except for two justices who were on leave at the time that the decision was made, lahat na justices nakapirma. Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, si Justice Carpio saka si Justice Peralta were on official leave the day na nilabas… the day na nilabas iyong desisyon. So sa akin, walang duda na appreciated ng justices iyong kung ano iyong tama.

    And ang hope lang namin, na after the resolution… after this resolution, sana tuloy-tuloy na—sana mapabilis na, sana matapos na, para maka-move on na talaga dito. Alam natin—alam namin, alam namin na kung ano iyong kakahinatnan nito, at lalong hindi umuusad iyong kaso, lalong nagbibigay ng cloud over everything.

    Kaya, again, happy kami na sana within the year matapos na. Iyong usapan naman, tapusin muna iyong three pilot provinces—iyong three pilot provinces siya din iyong pumili—para i-decide kung magpo-proceed pa o hindi. Pero iyong important thing is iyong pinaka-important question nasagot na.

    – 30 –

    Posted in Transcripts on Sep 25, 2018