Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday (November 7, 2020) said Solicitor General Jose Calida should not take advantage of his position and use his office to support defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos in the latter’s electoral protest.
Robredo, in a radio interview, stressed that this would have implications in the country’s democratic process.
“Maraming mga OSG lawyers na mga mabubuting public servants. Sana iyong personal ni Secretary Calida—iyong personal na loyalty niya sa mga Marcos—hindi na niya sana dinadamay iyong buong opisina niya, kasi may implikasyon ito sa ating demokrasya,” she said.
“Alam ko naman na alam nila eh. Alam ko na alam nila na talagang hindi sila nanalo sa eleksyon. Parang nakikita natin dito sa Amerika, parang repeat performance ito ng 2016 sa atin,” Robredo added.
Calida is known to be a supporter of Marcos for the vice presidency. He was a prime mover of Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong, a group that pushed for the tandem of the son of the late dictator and the current President during the 2016 elections.
VP Robredo, who had just arrived in Manila after distributing aid to areas in Bicol Region Super Typhoon Rolly battered, said her opponent’s camp should just help Filipinos recover from the typhoon and the COVID-19 pandemic instead of focusing on a “baseless” protest.
“Dapat sana sa mga problemang ito, mas unifying iyong mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, mas naghahanap ng paraan na kahit magkakaiba iyong pinapaniwalaan, naghahanap ng paraan para magkakatuwang sa mga problema gaya nitong COVID saka Typhoon Rolly. Tapos nagko-COVID, nagta-Typhoon Rolly, ang inaasikaso iyong protest na wala namang basehan. Iyon iyong nakakalungkot,” she said.
In September, the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), sought the comments of the Solicitor General and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the petition of Marcos seeking to nullify votes from Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao due to alleged poll fraud and terrorism.
The OSG then, in its 40-page legal opinion, said the PET will not step on the mandate of Commission on Elections (Comelec) should the tribunal decide to nullify elections in an area, but it has no power to conduct special elections.
“It is indubitable that even if votes cast in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan are declared null and void, there is no failure to elect to speak of. On the contrary, the ultimate winner, or the one with the majority (or plurality) of the valid votes cast is easily determinable,” Calida said.
Robredo received a total of 477,985 votes in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao against Marcos’ 169,160 votes. Nullifying votes counted in the provinces would effectively wipe out Robredo’s lead in the 2016 elections.