Robredo, Marcos to face off for Philippine presidency

Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Bongbong Marcos | photos

PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision to formalize her presidential bid in the 2022 national elections was “expected,” according to former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In a press conference in Ilocos Norte on Thursday, October 7, he said: “Expected naman natin ‘yun eh (We expected that). It’s not surprising.”

“Hindi nakakagulat dahil matagal na niyang sinasabi na kung tatakbo ako, tatakbo rin siya (It didn’t come off as a surprise since she has said before that she will run if I run),” added Marcos.

Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president on Thursday, a day after Marcos filed his own.

“My resolve is firm: We need to free ourselves from the current situation. I will fight, we will fight. I am offering myself as a candidate for president in the 2022 elections,” the vice president announced in Filipino, hours before heading over to the Harbor Garden Tent of Sofitel hotel in Pasay City, where the Commission on Elections will accept certificates filing until Oct. 8.

Her move set the stage for a rematch of the 2016 vice presidential elections, only this time the two candidates will be facing off against each other to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte.

VP race

On the scoreboard, Robredo has won against Marcos twice: during the vice presidential race, and the latter’s electoral protest case.

In 2016, she defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes, prompting him to file a poll protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and claiming Robredo “cheated” to win the elections.

After the Supreme Court (SC) approved Marcos’ protest in 2017, a preliminary conference of the case was arranged. The PET appointed retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose C. Vitug to chair the panel of commissioners handling the election case.

Marcos, in this year, also requested a vote recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

In October 2019, the PET found that Robredo widened her lead over Marcos in the recount of votes in the three pilot provinces, showing Robredo with 1,510,178 votes now compared to her 1,493,517 votes in the areas chosen by Marcos previously.

With the additional 15,093 votes from the recount, Robredo maintained her lead over Marcos with 278,566 votes.

In 2020, Marcos appealed to PET to review and re-examine the initial vote recount results and conduct a technical examination of the voters’ signatures in three provinces in Mindanao namely Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan due to alleged fraud and terrorism.

Meanwhile, Robredo filed her own memorandum asking the PET to dismiss the election protest after Marcos’ camp failed to present any substantial recovery in the three pilot provinces.

In February this year, the PET finally ended the four-year case by dismissing the entire poll protest filed by Marcos.

“With regard to PET Case No. 005 (Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., protestant vs Maria Leonor “Leni Daang Matuwid” G. Robredo, protestee), the 15 members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal unanimously dismissed the entire electoral protest,” the high court, through its Public Information Office, said on Feb. 15.

It also shared the dispositive portion of the ruling that read: “WHEREFORE, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal DISMISSES the Election Protest filed by protestant Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. for lack of merit. The Counter-Protest filed by protestee Maria Leonor “Leni Daang Matuwid” G. Robredo is likewise DISMISSED.”

2022 elections

While the electoral protest has met its conclusion, the upcoming election season brought a new fight to the fore.

This week, Marcos and Robredo launched their presidential bids, both announcing their reasons for seeking the country’s top post.

In his pre-recorded speech, Marcos vowed to bring “that form of unifying leadership” back to the Philippines. He also said that the country “must face” the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic “as one.”

“I know that it’s this manner of unifying leadership that can lead us through this crisis, get our people safely back to work for all of us to begin to live our lives once again,” he added.

Meanwhile, Robredo — who chose Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as her running mate — promised to end the “old and rotten” politics in the country.

“We will defeat the old and rotten politics. We will restore the power to bring change to ordinary Filipinos. I know many of you have been working on this goal for the past few months. I can feel your trust in me,” she said.

“Let me say it now: I also have complete trust in you,” she added.

Other presidential hopefuls include Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

The 2022 national elections will be held on May 9, 2022.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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