MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said he will not run for the Senate in 2019 as he plans to finish his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
"Bakit ako tatakbo ng senador eh nanalo na ako ng bise presidente? Ang kailangan ko lang gawin ay palabasin ang tama at totoo na talagang boto ng tao," he told reporters.
"I am not running for senator in 2019. Hindi ko titigilan itong protestang ito dahil tapat ang aking paniniwala na dinaya ako noong nakaraang halalan at ipapalabas ko ang tunay na bilang ng boto nang malaman ng tao kung sino ba talaga ang pinili ng taongbayan para maging bise-presidente," he added.
Marcos, who lost to Robredo by by 263,473 votes, said calls from the other camp for him to run for the Senate may be part of a "strategy" to dissuade him from pursuing the electoral protest and spend for a Senate campaign instead.
"I am very thankful for the continuing support that I have received from our countrymen, but that is not what is at stake here. What is at stake here is not only my candidacy, not only the results of the vice-presidency, but what is also at stake here is the electoral process," he said.
Marcos said not even President Rodrigo Duterte can make him run because he is "determined to finish this protest," adding that the chief executive never asked him to anyway.
He said seeking a Senate seat would mean that he is "abandoning" his protest, as was illustrated by jurisprudence.
He cited the case of his 2016 running mate, former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, whose electoral protest against former President Fidel Ramos was dismissed after she ran while the case was pending.
Marcos also clarified that Duterte has not offered him a Cabinet post, which he said would not preclude him from continuing with the poll protest.
In the same press conference, Marcos said he wants a new head of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) because Justice Benjamin Caguioa has been "unfair and unjust."
Marcos said his camp was asked to pay a P36-million recount fee on a Good Friday when most banks were closed for the Holy Week, while Robredo was only asked to pay P7 million.
"Nung hindi siya nakapagbayad on time, dinefer. Nung hindi nakapagbayad ulit, dinefer ulit," Marcos said.