Robredo unfazed by Marcos disqualification case win

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo in a file photo. Surveys show is a runaway frontrunner while Robredo is gaining grounds

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA – What, Leni worry?

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said they were unaffected by the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier this week dismissing the first of three remaining disqualification and/or cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy cases against Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

As the opposition candidate for president, Robredo said that while she would not comment on the merits of the case, she preferred to beat Marcos Jr. via the vote, the same way she defeated him in their vice presidential contest in 2016.

Even before the decision was made known, Robredo told media in the vernacular that her camp was not waiting for the results “because whatever the decision of the Comelec, the fight will not get affected.”

She earlier said that personally, she preferred to face Marcos Jr. in the polls to prove “once and for all” that she won in 2016.

Whatever the poll body decided, Robredo told her followers to just stay the course and continue what they have been doing since she announced her candidacy last year.

Another presidential bet, Senator Panfilo Lacson, said it was best for everyone to “respect the ruling” of the Comelec.

The two other presidential bets, Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Lopez, avoided any direct response to the Comelec’s decision on the case.

The camp of Marcos Jr. thanked the Comelec for “upholding the law and the right of every bona fide candidate like Bongbong Marcos to run for public office free from any form of harassment and discrimination.”

And while the dismissal of one case for lack of merit was considered a major victory for Marcos Jr., his problems are far from over as he still has to face two more in the days to come.

The Comelec was supposed to settle all the cases against Marcos Jr. but senior staffers of one of the commissioners in the first division tested positive for COVID-19 this week, forcing the poll body to defer announcing its decision to a later date. It was the three commissioners of the second division who decided that the case filed against the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was not strong enough to force him out of the race.

Even if Marcos Jr. wins the two remaining cases, they will likely face motions for reconsideration, after which they may also be forwarded to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

Due to time constraints, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Marcos’s name will appear in the ballots which begin printing this week. In the event he is disqualified, all votes cast for him will be voided.

The possibility of a substitution in case Marcos Jr. lost remained at play, as he may be replaced by another candidate with the same surname as his. This means that his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, or his wife, Liza Araneta-Marcos can take his place if he is disqualified with finality.

The substitute need not be a member of the party that nominated him.