The Marcos-Aquino camps continue to justify the means of the end results of the leadership of the two influential clans in the country. The survey on their popularity is still on as long as Bongbong Marcos’ election protest against an Aquino follower does not reach the verdict yet. The President who is a known supporter of the Marcoses chooses to highlight the good side of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. He mentions his contributions to the restoration democracy in the country as Filipinos mark the senator’s 34th death anniversary. Du30 also credits the late senator for inspiring a peaceful revolution or what others call a mutiny.
[VIDEO]: Pahayag ni Pres. Du30 sa Ninoy Aquino Day.
Journalist and Politician
The President also praises Aquino for his work as a journalist and politician that led to positive changes in society. Aquino remained steadfast with his struggle during martial law to fight for what he believes in. Du30 hopes to commemorate his death with his works that inspire the today’s Filipinos. This is to be united and patriotic. The only way to echo the late senator’s famous line: “The Filipino is worth dying for.”
Clash with Marcos
“Even at a time when he was hopeless, he struggles to restore democracy through non-violent means. His deeds have taught us that we should always aspire for the common good. Even if one must go against the grain and do what is necessary,” the President added. Aquino was a vocal critic of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. He was imprisoned and exiled during the martial law period because of rebellion. Marcos saved him from execution by sending him to the US for humanitarian reasons due to his deteriorating health.
Members of both clans are diplomatic enough during social gatherings and meetups with common friends. However, no one can deny that the past rivalry of their patriarchs continues to divide the nation when former President Noynoy Aquino vows to block Bongbong Marcos from the executive office.
Survey the Divided Nation
Political groups via social media are proofs that the country is divided. The online technology these days allow social media practitioners to base their opinions on the data generated from actual online users. Under this climate, the President is right to focus on the good of the opposing party. There’s indeed a good side in everyone. The late Aquino is entitled to be credited on what is due to him.
The most sought-after election lawyer of Bongbong Marcos, Atty. George Erwin Garcia, who originally points out the large estimate of 3.9 million undervotes has a valid point of making this a big deal from the start. It is not normal under election standard to have such large number of boycott voters. Even the 3.2 M latest count of undervotes is still very questionable.
[VIDEO]: Panayam kay Atty. George Garcia, abugado ni Bongbong Marcos
Target of the Recount
Bongbong Marcos lists three pilot provinces for recount or revision that would allegedly show the merits of his election protest. He questions the victory of Vice President Leni Robredo during the election. The recount is about to begin but the Supreme Court has not ruled on the date yet. Marcos’ camp headed by Atty. Garcia targets on the authenticity of the undervotes when the ballot boxes are opened.
Atty. Victor Rodriguez, a spokesperson of Marcos, said that Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental are the pilot places for the recount. It is because they can show that the major discrepancies. This is the differences from the cast ballots and Vote Counting Machines transmissions. The tally can then be the basis of the Certificates of Canvass. These places had an enormous number of undervotes.
To this date, it is evident in the courses of actions of Marcos’ lawyers particularly Atty. Garcia and Atty. Rodriguez that their strategies are well-thought of. From the designation of 3 legal officers that could administer the electoral proceeding in a speedy manner to actual media announcements that are factual. These are in contrast with the actions displayed by the opposing camp.
These lawyers are just like Bongbong Marcos himself. They do not open their mouth just to have something to say about the opponent. This is why they go quiet when there’s no development from the Supreme Court yet. This means to say that it is not certain yet when the recount would start.
Bongbong Marcos responds respectfully that COMELEC must defray for or pay the election ballot storage fees overseas because it’s their mandate to safeguard these materials. It is unfair to charge it against his paid deposits for the recount. This is not the first time that the poll agency’s incompetence is put on the line. Eary this year, it also failed to secure its database from alleged hackers.
[VIDEO]: Bautista, pinakakasuhan dahil sa nangyaring pangha-hack sa COMELEC website
Marcos said that as the primary guardian of the election, it is the duty of the COMELEC to protect these ballots. Therefore the claims for payments of their storage by the consular offices must be dealt with accordingly. It is not only constitutional but doing so means that the agency adheres to the rules and regulations of the land.
Early last year, there was a recommendation that the COMELEC must be charged with negligence due to the hacking incident that leaks out the election database to the public. Chairman Andres Bautista thinks that this is unfair because authorities must punish the criminal and not the victim. However, Bautista must also be liable for his negligence.
The former Senator questions why the overseas storage fees will be charged against his deposits when the Supreme Court clearly orders that the fees are for the retrieval of ballots. This should refer to the precincts mentioned his electoral protest against Leni Robredo. Particularly the ones in his three pilot provinces.
It is an injustice for COMELEC to insist that the said fees be taken from the 66 M Pesos he already paid. It is their job in the first place to make sure that they are safe and not tampered with. Otherwise, this will violate the PET’s aim to facilitate the electoral protest in a speedy and inexpensive manner.
Bongbong Marcos earlier asks the Supreme Court to dismiss the counter-protest of Vice President Leni Robredo over his electoral protest. The Marcos camp stresses Robredo’s failure to pay the first tranche of ₱8 M on time. Eventually, she settled it at a later date. Now, the second tranche of ₱7 M is long overdue. The deadline is not yet set by the PET. Marcos seems to ignore this but his supporters question the SC’s leniency towards the VP. That is even followed by the swift approval of her P443.946 M OVP budget by the House of Representatives appropriations committee.
[VIDEO]: VP Leni Robredo, nagpaliwanag kaugnay sa budget ng OVP
Vice President Leni Robredo personally attends the House appropriations committee budget hearing. Chairperson Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the committee would dispense with the presentation of the budget as a courtesy to Robredo.
Ally Moved to Dispense
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also moves to dispense with the OVP’s budget deliberation. “We move to dispense with the presentation of the budget. This is a due courtesy to the Office of the Vice President,” Lagman said. Lagman is known for his criticizing the first 100 days of the Du30 administration and the President’s war on drugs.
Robredo said the OVP’s budget may have increased by three percent, but it incurred a huge cut on its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). The OVP proposesP443.946 million for 2018. That is up by 3.58 percent from P428.618 million in 2017. This is net of the Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums. The MOOE of the OVP, however, went down by 2.32 percent. The MOOE of P357.324 million in 2017 decreases to P349.029 million for 2018.
OVP Money Matters
This news about the OVP’s money matters is very timely just after Robredo’s petition to the SC to allow them to help her settle her counter protest balance was rejected by PET. People can’t help but connect this with her money problems. One thing is certain. Her office will be under close watch as far as auditing is concerned.
Patricia Paz Bautista, the estranged wife of Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said that her husband received at least P500,000 in referral fees from Smartmatic Corp. This is through Divina Law firm as per the commission sheet. The Chairman denies this by saying that before his election post, he’s already referring real-estate clients to Divina. It already has an existing relationship with Smartmatic. Bongbong Marcos also said that it’s better to investigate the matter than drawing up speculations. He might not want to get involved with the fiasco but he cannot ignore the fact that this allegation supports the first part of his election protest against Leni Robredo that involves the Comelec-Smartmatic anomalies.
[VIDEO]: Comelec chairman Andy Bautista refuted claims that he received a “referral fee” from DivinaLaw in respect to Smartmatic. He also said that when he became Comelec chairman in 2015, Smartmatic is already the technology provider for the elections.
The Chairman’s Defense
It is unclear when Chairman Bautista received the referral fees. He points out that Smartmatic has been the Comelec’s technology provider since 2010 or five years before he was appointed the chairman of the election body. DivinaLaw is just one of the many law firms engaged by Smartmatic, Bautista added. However, prior to his existing post, he was PCGG Chairman. That is still covered by the law that government officials must not receive favors that can jeopardize their responsibilities for the public.
Mrs. Bautista also said that her lawyers told her that Bautista could be liable for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. They could be grounds for impeachment. She explained that her findings might lead to a much bigger crime. It is not certain if she insinuates Marcos’ protest against Robredo but it is the hottest event right now on the matter.
Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque comments that Bautista’s admission for receiving such fees made him liable for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. He is a public official. Therefore, he is not allowed under the law to receive any gift or consideration from anybody who has an interest in his office, Roque said. The National Bureau of Investigation launches a probe into Bautista’s finances. It is not surprising that the commissions from Smartmatic cast doubts on all elections supervised by the Comelec chief.
Law on Evidence
It might be premature for Marcos to get involved in the allegations thrown at the Comelec Chair. Most evidence for his protest is already submitted to PET. Should the legal findings of the proceedings made against Bautista are confirmed positive, these can add as both physical and public evidence on the case. In paper or physical as per law that supports the public’s general interest. The recount will just be a formality.