Shades of '86: A Marcos vs a widow in close race

David Dizon, ABS-CBN News

Leni Robredo faces the media at the Microtel Hotel in Pasig City as the counting of votes for the position of vice president in the national elections goes to the final stretch Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Fernando G. Sepe Jr. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo has yet to secure victory but she is already fending off allegations of poll cheating as well as rumors that she will quit if Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidential race.

In a press conference, Robredo said there is no proof that the elections are being rigged in her favor after she slowly overtook independent VP bet Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos in the race Tuesday morning. She pointed out she cannot claim victory because the counting is not yet over.

Robredo had 13,592,608 votes compared to Marcos' 13,383,517 votes, according to partial and unofficial results from the Commission on Elections as of 3:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Robredo said the latest tally accounts for over 95% of the total votes cast in the May 9 polls.

The LP bet said Marcos was clearly leading in the hours right after polling precincts closed at 5 p.m. Monday, before she slowly overtook Marcos past 3 a.m. Tuesday.

"The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting quick count clearly shows that votes from Regions 1,2,3 and 4a were the first to be counted," she said.

She said she bounced back after the votes from Regions 5,6,7 and Negros Island came in.

The LP bet said it would be very hard to cheat an automated election since there is no more human intervention in the voting after the precincts close. She added she has yet to hear a statement from the Commission on Elections that there was an attempt to rig the votes.

Robredo rejected Marcos' proposal to stop the quick count, saying the count is a necessary check and balance to prevent cheating.

She also pointed out that pre-election surveys showed that she and Marcos were statistically tied in the vice-presidential race.

ABS-CBN News, Pulse Asia Research

Robredo fended off comparisons to the late President Cory Aquino who rose to the presidency after President Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in the 1986 EDSA Revolution. "The only similarity is we were thrust into a position because our husbands died," she said.

Marcos and Aquino also had a close race in the February 1986 snap presidential elections. Marcos won in the official count, but widespread fraud eventually catapulted Aquino to power in the people power revolt weeks later.

The LP bet said Mrs. Aquino went through much harder trials under the Marcos dictatorship. She noted she cannot compare the deaths of their husbands since Aquino's husband, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was assassinated at the Manila International Airport while returning from exile in 1983.

Robredo's husband is the late DILG chief Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in 2012.


Meanwhile, Robredo also rejected as a fabrication rumors that she will quit her post if Duterte wins the presidency.

The rumor first appeared in a satire site and was the subject of a Facebook page, which has since been taken down.

In the press conference, Robredo said she never said that she will quit the vice-presidency if she and Duterte win the 2016 elections.

"Wala po akong sinabi kailanman na ganyan. Sa katotohanan, may ginawang fake na Facebook page na ganito po ang sinasabi na umano ako ang nagsabi nun. Nireklamo na po natin ito at in fact naipatanggal na natin itong fake na Facebook page," she said.

She also denied that there is a Liberal Party 'Plan B' to impeach Duterte and install her as the new president.

She said LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas had already conceded in the presidential race and encouraged the people to unite behind Duterte.

Robredo admitted that she was saddened by Roxas' defeat in the same way that Duterte might be saddened by the loss of his own running-mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.


She added that she had already vowed to give her 100 percent support to whoever wins the presidency "except for things that go beyond the law."

"He deserves my 100 percent support and this is good for the country. It would not benefit the Filipinos if I do not give him the support that he deserves," she said.

She also said she is willing to accept any position or assignment from Duterte "unless I know deep in my heart that I cannot do it."

She said she once had a conversation with Roxas wherein she expressed a desire to work on mainstream anti-poverty programs addressing housing and nutrition, not necessarily a Cabinet position.

"I saw...footage of Mayor Duterte last night and yung impression ko naman, mas ano siya, mas moving forward. Mas for healing. Healing of the country. Ako, I have very high hopes. Tingin ko dahil kami yung binigyan o siya yung binigyan at kung ako manalo, ako ang bibigyan ng pagkakataon na makitrabaho sa kanya, ano'to, yung sa akin, yung lahat na as much as possible, walang iringan. Nandito naman kami para sa bayan, hindi kami nandito para sa partido namin," she said.

"Pagka may nag-assume, iniiwan namin ang eleksyon. Iniiwan namin yung personal namin. Binibigay namin yung buo namin para sa bayan."