MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday said she was not behind moves to disqualify 2016 rival and 2022 poll opponent Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Speaking to reporters in Negros Occidental, where she thanked supporters and met with several groups, Robredo said it “doesn’t make sense” that she would seek Marcos’ disqualification for next year's elections when she could have done so back in 2016.
“It doesn’t make sense kung gusto namin siya ipa-disqualify...dapat laban pa ng VP,” said Robredo.
“And sa purpose of this na maalis siya sa contest na ito, hindi naman kailangan. Naglaban na kami ng 2016, nanalo na kami ng wala naman ganiyan,” she added.
[If the purpose of disqualification is to keep him out of the contest, I don’t think there’s a need for that. We already won against him in 2016 without the need for a disqualification case.]
Earlier this week, civic groups filed a petition at the Commission of Elections (Comelec) to either cancel or deny the certificate of candidacy (COC) of presidential aspirant Marcos over his supposed "false material representation.”
In a 57-page petition to the Comelec, representatives from Task Force Detainees of PH, KAPATID, Medical Action Group, FIND, PH Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and Balay questioned Marcos Jr.'s eligibility to run for the country's top job because he has been convicted of tax evasion.
Marcos Jr.'s' 1995 conviction for tax evasion should prevent him from running for president, even if the Court of Appeals in 1997 reduced the penalty to a mere fine, according to the petitioners.
Petitioners also argued that his supposed repeated failure to file his income tax returns and the failure to pay estate taxes initially amounting to P23 billion (now P203.8 billion) are crimes involving moral turpitude, rendering him ineligible to hold public office.
The Marcos camp called it a "predictable nuisance petition" by personalities "with known ties to the Liberal Party."
"Until then, we will refrain from commenting on their propaganda. Our camp does not engage in gutter politics. Our campaign is about nation-building," said Marcos' chief of staff Vic Rodriguez.
The Marcos family has long sought to rebuild its image and has repeatedly denied allegations that it plundered state wealth while in power, estimated in 1987 at $10 billion.
LENI IN NEGROS
Earlier Friday, Robredo marked the first day of her visit in Negros Occidental on the runup for the 2022 elections, wooing supporters in Bacolod City.
The Vice President was met warmly by her supporters during her arrival there, with many of them waving their pink flags as her convoy passed through, photos showed.
Robredo also met with Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson for the signing of a memorandum that would enhance her office's partnership with Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.
The local hospital gives medical assistance to patients who are from the indigent community, her camp said.
According to her office, nearly 98,000 patients received help from Robredo's medical assistance program with the help of her partner hospitals and organizations.
Negros Occidental has the 6th highest number of voters among provinces at 1.89 million that year.
Robredo, a Naga native, was recently in Bicol where she wrapped up a 5-day trip visiting various localities, hoping for a solid Bicol vote come May 2022.
- With reports from Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News