Robredo camp says PET denial of bid to end poll protest ‘not a victory’ for Marcos

Robie de Guzman   •   July 18, 2019   •   1505

FILE PHOTO: Vice President Leni Robredo
FILE PHOTO: Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday expressed disappointment but assured to respect the decision of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to deny her motion for immediate resolution of the election protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We are extremely disappointed, but we fully respect the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s decision to deny our motion for an immediate resolution in connection with the election protest of losing candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” Robredo’s legal counsel, Atty. Ma. Bernadette Sardillo, said in a statement released on Thursday.

Robredo’s camp, however, pointed out that this development should not be claimed as a victory by Marcos.

Sardillo said the PET only put its decision on hold to await confirmation of the recount results from the three pilot provinces.

“Marcos cannot claim victory as the PET only put its decision on hold to validate and confirm the results of the recount from the three pilot provinces,” she said.

“In addition, the PET also puts on hold the request of the Marcoses for annulment, which is in accordance with its rules,” she added.

The Supreme Court – sitting as PET – in its July 2 resolution said it found Robredo’s motion “premature” as her lawyers have claimed that her victory in the 2016 vice-presidential elections had been confirmed by the manual recount of votes from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.  

The court said the figures submitted by Robredo’s legal team are “merely speculative,” noting that “the Tribunal has yet to complete the proceedings involved in the protest, which entails judicial recount, revision, and appreciation of the votes cast” in pilot provinces identified by Marcos.

But Sardillo maintained, their motion was anchored on the fact that Marcos has not proven anything in his protest against Robredo’s victory.

“In fact, VP Leni has gained additional votes from the recount,” she said.

The lawyer added that Robredo pushed for the immediate resolution of the case to prevent Marcos’ camp “from spreading misinformation and propaganda to deceive the public about the genuine results of the 2016 elections, which they have been doing from the beginning of this process.”

Robredo’s camp also expressed confidence that in the end, the vice president will be vindicated and victory will be confirmed.

Marcos’ camp, meanwhile, said they are very pleased with the court resolution, saying it “finally put an end to Robredo’s fallacious claim of victory.”

“She should stop misleading the public with her impetuous pronouncements,” Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesman said in a statement.

Robredo honors all freedom fighters during Marcos era on Ninoy Aquino Day

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday honored the sacrifices of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, and all Filipinos like him who fought against dictatorship and for the restoration of freedom in the country.

In a message to mark Ninoy’s 36th death anniversary, Robredo recalled how Ninoy’s death had inspired a movement that brought down the “rapacious” regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Every Filipino alive at that time remembers where they were when Ninoy fell. It was the defining moment for an entire generation: a moment that would inspire a movement that would ultimately bring down the dictator three years later, and bring about a restoration of the freedom Ninoy had given up his life and liberty fighting for,” Robredo said.

The vice president also pointed out that Ninoy was not the only one who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country’s freedom.

“Thousands of Filipinos fell during the dark years of dictatorship, resisting till their last breath the cruelty and corruption it brought. Thousands more were estranged from their families, were thrown into prison, were subjected to brutality and humiliation. Many of them remain nameless and unheralded in our memorials and history books,” she said.

“So, when we celebrate the 21st of August, it is not just Ninoy Aquino we remember, but all those like him, both the nameless and the heralded, who gave of themselves so that we could be free,” she added.

“In this remembrance, we express both our deepest gratitude for the sacrifices made on our behalf, and, perhaps more significantly, our persistent commitment to defend the freedom they won back for us.”

Robredo also lambasted those who “dismiss the significance of Ninoy’s sacrifice,” or “question the validity of the movement it inspired,” and those who are pushing a revised version of history, claiming that the Marcos regime “was not so bad after all.”

“The simple truth is, Ninoy Aquino was a Filipino who gave his life for his country. His love for his homeland was seen not in easy talk or slick PR stunts, but instead blazed brightly through long years of imprisonment, of exile, and in the end, of martyrdom,” she said.

“Many talk about being willing to die for our country. Ninoy was one of the courageous few who actually did,” she added.

Ninoy, a staunch critic of the Marcos government, was assassinated upon his return from a three-year exile in the United States on August 21, 1983. He was shot and killed at he was shot and killed at the then Manila International Airport (now named after him) as he was escorted off the airplane.

Ninoy’s death led to protests that sparked snap presidential elections in 1986, which led to the 1986 EDSA Revolution that catapulted his wife, Cory Aquino to presidency.

Access to aid in quake-hit Itbayat, Batanes remains a challenge – Robredo

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The deployment of relief goods to parts of Itbayat town in Batanes remains a challenge four days since two successive earthquakes jolted the area, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday.

Robredo made the observation after visiting the town earlier in the day to personally see the damages left by the temblor and to distribute relief packs to earthquake victims.

“Iyong pagkain, challenge. Iyong construction materials, challenge, dahil sa layo ng lugar. Mayroong mga barko na pumupunta, pero it takes a while bago makarating,” she said.

“Gaya noong dala namin, three days pa siya bago makarating. Halimbawa, iyong PAL (Philippine Airlines) nag-o-offer na makapagpadala sa kanila for free, pero hanggang Basco lang iyon, so kailangan pa din i-transport iyong mga goods. So ano talaga, mahirap. Kahit urgent, hindi talaga mamadali, dahil sa hirap ng pagpunta,” she added.

Robredo also noted that the steel bars, to be used for the rebuilding of damaged structures, are the most difficult to transport since these are too heavy for boats.

“Siguro iyong Navy ship iyong kailangan,” she said.

“Malawak iyong destruction. Iyong pinuntahan natin na barangay, iyong Santa Maria, tapos iyong dinaanan, San Rafael, sobrang dami ng bahay na nasira,” she added.

The vice president also stressed the need for the urgent building of shelters for affected residents.

“Siguro iyong first na pinaka-urgent, na may matulugan na sila na mas maayos. Mayroon naman tayong mga dala na gamit, pero mas pang-temporary siya. Siguro sa lalong madaling panahon, iyong pinaka-mahalaga, maka-build na ng temporary shelters,” she said.

Due to the damages sustained in Itbayat town, Robredo suggested for the local government unit to strengthen the prepositioning of relief goods and implement protocols for quick disaster response.

“Dapat mayroon na sanang, parang, protocols. Na kapag may nangyayari dito, paano iyong pagdala ng tulong. Kasi naaalala ko, in 2016, noong Typhoon Ferdie, nandito din ako, eh. Nandito din ako sa Itbayat, same problem. Iyong pinaka-problema talaga, kahit may sasakyan, mahaba talaga iyong travel time, eh. So siguro iyong kailangang i-consider din, magkaroon na ng… parang naka-store na provisions (of aid) lalo na sa pagkain,” she said.

“Iyong isa pa, talagang ang health services dito, iyong mga hospital, kailangan talagang paglaanan ng maraming tulong, para kapag may ganito, dahil malayo iyong mga dadalhan, dapat equipped noong mga kailangan,” she added.

The entire province of Batanes is listed in the UNESCO tentative list for inscription in the World Heritage list due to the intangible heritage elements of the Ivatan people, including their stone houses.

But Robredo said that following the quake, there is now a need to ‘tweak’ the design of stone houses in Batanes to withstand strong earthquakes.

Batanes residents are much prepared for tropical cyclones as the province, which sits in the northernmost part of the country, is usually in the path of storms entering the Philippines.

“Iyong sa akin, baka kailangan balikan na in preserving the stone houses, tingnan na kung paano niya mawi-withstand iyong ganito. Siguro kailangang i-tweak iyong design, iyong engineering design. Wala kasi siyang mga kabilya, eh. Talagang mga bato lahat,” Robredo said.

“Tama iyong sabi ni Gov, na for a very long time, ang pinaghahandaan kasi nila bagyo. Ngayon lang nag-strike itong ganitong katinding lindol, saka lang nila naisip na may problema pala iyong… parang iyong original design ng mga bahay dito,” she added.

The Vice President said they visited earthquake victims to extend assistance through its Angat Buhay initiative which partners with private companies in providing aid to communities in need.

They also donated an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine for the local hospital.

DOJ summons Robredo, 35 others over sedition raps

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned Vice President Leni Robredo and other respondents of criminal charges in relation to the “Bikoy” narco-list video series.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed that subpoenas have been sent out to respondents on Friday for the preliminary investigation set on August 9 at 10 a.m.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last week filed charges of sedition, cyber libel, estafa, harboring of a criminal, and obstruction of justice against Robredo and other opposition members based on the affidavit of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure ‘Bikoy’ in a series of videos dubbed as “Ang Totoong Narcolist.”

Robredo and other opposition members have been accused of orchestrating the videos as part of an alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Guevarra has assured the public of a fair resolution to the complaint.

“I assure everyone of utmost fairness in the resolution of this case. The evidence, or the lack of it, will speak for itself,” he said.

The camp of Robredo had earlier said the vice president is prepared to face her accusers.

They also called the allegations as “politically-motivated,” and was only filed in an aim to impeach the vice president.

The remarks of Robredo’s camp follows the statement of Atty. Larry Gadon, lawyer of Advincula, on filing an impeachment case against Robredo if she is indicted for sedition and inciting to sedition charges.

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