FORMER senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may become the country’s next vice president if he wins his electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday night in Beijing.
The President made the remark as he introduced Marcos during his meeting with the Filipino community in Beijing.
Marcos and his sister, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, joined the President’s state visit to China and were on stage when Duterte spoke.
“Si Bongbong … Kung manalo siya sa protest niya baka bago ang ating bise presidente [Bongbong … If he wins in his election protest, maybe we will have a new vice president],” Duterte said.
Marcos is contesting the narrow victory of Robredo in the May 9 vice presidential race, claiming massive electoral fraud, counting anomalies and other irregularities.
Robredo won with 14,682,290 votes against Marcos’ 14,418,817 votes, or a difference of only 263,473.
Duterte, citing his close ties with the Marcoses, initially declined to give Robredo a Cabinet position. He later named her housing czar.
Another rival of Marcos in the vice presidential contest, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, was also present in the Filipino community event.
Introducing Cayetano to the audience, Duterte described his former vice presidential candidate as “bright.”
Both Marcos and Cayetano sought to run under the Duterte ticket, but the latter got the nod of the former Davao City mayor. Marcos instead ran with the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Marcos camp hits Comelec
On Thursday, the Marcos camp said it would ask the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal or PET, to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from releasing supposedly unused vote-counting machines to its foreign service provider Smartmatic.
The move, the Marcos camp said, would violate a precautionary protective order issued by the tribunal to preserve election records and equipment.
“Senator Marcos is vehemently opposing the plan of Comelec to return the 1,356 [machines]to Smartmatic for the simple reason that there is no approval from the PET in the light of the [order]it earlier issued,” said
Marcos counsel Jose Amor Amorado during a Comelec briefing at the poll body’s Santa Rosa, Laguna warehouse that discussed the protocol on the release of the counting machines to Smartmatic.
The Marcos camp insists that the protective order covers the machines, despite the Comelec’s claim that they were not used during the May polls. The machines are scheduled to be released starting October 26.
“These contingency machines were used during the last elections as contingency [machines]. Some of them were deployed admittedly during the earlier meetings in different areas. Some of them were left here in Santa Rosa. So because of the lack of PET approval, the plan of Comelec to return the [machines]to Smartmatic is vehemently opposed,” Amorado said.
The PET had ordered the preservation of automated election equipment such as counting machines, consolidation and canvass system units, secure digital cards, and other data storage devices in all 92,509 clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections.