MANILA (UPDATED) — The affirmation of Vice President Leni Robredo's win in the 2016 elections will make her camp stronger, she said Tuesday, noting that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal's (PET) decision finally put the issue to rest.
In a press briefing, Robredo said the truth prevailed after the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, junked defeated candidate Bongbong Marcos' election protest nearly 5 years since it was filed.
"Naitaguyod natin 'yong tunay na pasya noong 2016 elections... Mula sa simula, parati ko nang sinabi... na sa dulo ng lahat, katotohanan ang mananaig," said Robredo of the ruling.
(The true decision from the 2016 elections was upheld. Since the beginning, I have said that truth would prevail until the very end.)
"The affirmation... will allow us to focus more on the more important work, observing our people. Lalo itong magpapalakas ng ating pagkilos at pagtulong, lalo na ngayong panahon ng matinding krisis," she said.
(This will boost our efforts in extending help, especially now that the country is in crisis.)
Robredo said her office has yet to get hold of a copy of the PET's decision, which was promulgated earlier in the day.
She urged the public to move on from the issue and put political differences aside.
"Hinihingi ko lang sa lahat, lalo na sa supporters natin, is to put this... behind us and let us move forward together. Maraming pinagdadaanan ang ating bansa ngayon. Marami tayong kahirapan na pinagdadaanan. Isantabi muna natin ang sama ng loob, hindi pagkakaintindihan, at away kasi maraming umaasa sa atin," she said.
(I ask everyone, most especially our supporters, to put this behind us. Our country is facing a lot of things, we are facing a lot of difficulties. We should set aside differences, misunderstandings, and any feud, since many are relying on us.)
Robredo said she was relieved that the magistrates voted unanimously in junking the electoral protest.
"Sobrang gulat pa rin na lumabas kanina, and grabe na sigh of relief ang decision kasi alam naman natin ang narrative na pinapalabas. And the fact na unanimous ang decision, malaking bagay yun para maka-move on na tayong lahat."
(I was surprised when it came out earlier today, and there was this sigh of relief because the ruling proved that the narrative being spread against me was false. And the fact that the decision was unanimous, it means a lot for us all to finally move on.)
When asked if the decision will affect her plan, if any, to pursue higher office in 2022, Robredo said her focus for now is to respond to the people's needs during the pandemic.
"Parang gusto ko munang namnamin yung araw na ito. Almost 5 years din naming hinintay… parang immersed pa kasi kami sa pang-araw-araw na pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating, yung mga naapektuhan ng pandemya," she said.
(I want to enjoy this day. We waited for this for almost 5 years. We were immersed with responding to our countrymen's plight everyday because of the pandemic.)
"Pakiramdam ko parang kasalanan na pulitika na yung isipin ko. Na yung aking political plans ay yun ang uunahin at hindi yung pagsigurado na yung pagtulong sa mga lubos na nangangailangan ay hindi naming masikaso,” she explained.
(I feel like it is a sin to think of politics in the middle of this, that I will prioritize my political plans instead of making sure that the problems and needs of the Filipinos were attended to.)
Marcos' camp, in an interview on Teleradyo, meanwhile said the fight is not yet over, as they can still file a motion for reconsideration.
"Maging ano pa man ang desisyon na ito, haharapin po namin. Subalit, hindi ibig sabihin nito na yuyuko po kami. Itutuloy po namin ang aming laban all the way hanggang 2022," Marcos' spokesperson, Vic Rodriguez, said.
(Whatever the decision is, we will face it. But it does not mean that we will just bow down to it. We will continue our fight until 2022.)
TROLLS, MISINFORMATION HOUND VP
With the PET victory, Robredo believes that she has already experienced the worst social media attacks from trolls.
The Vice President and her office have been consistent targets of misinformation since she assumed office in 2016, most recently officials' claims that she used a C-130 military aircraft for her relief efforts in a typhoon-hit province. This turned out to be false.
Online misinformation had also targeted her relief efforts.
Despite this, the Vice President thanked the public for supporting her, noting that the controversies being pinned on her did not affect her work.
“Hindi ba since 2016 naman bugbog na bugbog na tayo? Para sa akin isang malaking gift na, saka isang malaking blessing na kahit na ganito kagrabe na yung attacks eh, more than majority pa rin yung naniniwala sa akin," she said.
(Isn't it that we have been enduring this since 2016? I still consider it as a gift and a blessing that despite the severity of the attacks, a majority still believes in me.)
"Ang dami nang lahat ng kasalanan ay lahat pinaako na sa akin. Buti hindi natin inako. Pero mayroon pa ring naniniwala at hindi yun naging sagabal para magawa natin ng maayos yung ating trabaho."
(So many controversies were being blamed on me, but we did not let ourselves take responsibility for it. There were still people who believed in us and we did not let the controversies distract us from doing our work.)
SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka earlier said that 7 members of the PET "fully concurred" in the dismissal of Marcos' electoral protest, while 8 concurred in the result of the ruling.
Former SC spokeperson Ted Te explained that some justices voting to concur only in the result meant that they had different reasons but still had the same conclusion.
Marcos, in the third cause of action in his protest, claimed that the elections in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan were tainted with terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters and pre-shading of ballots.
But a source privy to the matter earlier cited to ABS-CBN News several reasons for the dismissal, including the failure to allege specific acts showing electoral fraud.
The source also noted the absence of substantial recovery of votes in the 3 pilot provinces Marcos had chosen where Robredo actually gained additional votes with 1,510,718 against his 204,512. — With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News