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Robredo to remain VP, says lawyer

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VICE President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo will remain vice president however the Supreme Court rules on the election protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. her lawyer said yesterday.

“Vice President Robredo will remain as vice president,” lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal said in a statement.

The high court acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal earlier deferred acting on the results of a ballot recount in connection with the 2016 election protest.

If the tribunal says that Mr. Marcos had made a substantial recovery, then his protest would continue, Mr. Macalintal said, adding that Ms. Robredo would remain vice president pending the case.

“If PET rules that Marcos was unable to gain any substantial recovery from the recount of ballots from his three pilot provinces, then his protest will be dismissed and VP Leni’s victory will be affirmed,” the lawyer said.

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In August, Mr. Marcos asked the tribunal to hasten his electoral protest by directing hearing commissioners to set a preliminary conference because the revisions in the pilot provinces had been finished as early as February.

The Supreme Court last week belied a newspaper column that said it had favored the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos in his vice presidential election protest. Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin told reporters the magistrates had yet to vote on the case.

A column by Federico D. Pascual, Jr. published in The Philippine Star said the high court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, had voted 8-6 in favor of Mr. Marcos.

Mr. Marcos lost the vice presidential race by a hair to Ms. Robredo, who is now halfway through her term.

The tribunal has deferred acting on the results of a ballot recount in connection with Mr. Marcos’s 2016 electoral protest, court spokesman Brain Keith F. Hosaka said last week, without giving a reason.

The Constitution mandates the high court, sitting as an electoral tribunal, to resolve disputes involving the presidential and vice presidential races.

Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa earlier submitted a report on the ballot recount in three pilot provinces where massive cheating allegedly occurred.

Mr. Marcos identified the provinces as Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur, which had a total of 5,415 voting precincts in the May 2016 elections.

Mr. Bersamin said last month they were treading carefully in the electoral protest because it was “a matter of public interest.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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