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Ballot Boxes in Cebu Prove COMELEC’s Incompetence in BBM’s Electoral Protest

electoral protest

By: Elena Grace Flores
Bongbong Marcos divulges the critical ally in Cebu in the person of none other than Vice Mayor Mike Rama. BBM graces Rama’s birthday upon the invite of a mutual friend who is one of the organizers of the event. He also meets Governor Gwen Garcia who is vital in helping now Senator Imee Marcos’ initiatives when she was still in the Congress. Garcia always believes that Marcos was cheated during the VP race in 2016. Sure enough, the electoral protestee can only see the original ballot boxes in Cebu that up to the real standard set by the COMELEC. Unlike the ones they submitted during the election protest recount procedures.

YouTube video by Bongbong Marcos
Cebu City is evidence that when public servants set politics aside and encourage entrepreneurial thinking instead, their communities make visible progress.

Governor Gwen Sets Aside Politics

Politicking is not in Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s vocabulary. She’s always on top of her projects that augment the lives of Cebuanos. The passionate governor spearheads tourism expansions to rural areas  like in “Suruy Suruy sa Sugbu” since her previous term.  Garcia means business when she implements a total ban on live hogs, and pork from Luzon. This is after the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirms the outbreak of African swine fever. There is a serious concern of a possible ASF entry to the PHP10-billion hog industry in Cebu if there’s no efficient virus control.

Mayor Cortes in Mandaue

Cebu officials like Mayor Cortes of Mandaue are role models as public servants . They hardly discuss politics during gatherings. All they think about are the public projects that can bring good impact to their communities. Marcos applauds their dedication to public service that he witnesses with his very eyes. Plus their entrepreneural spirit.

An Old Friend, Secretary Sitoy

A good friend of BBM’s mother, Imelda Marcos accompanies BBM to tour Cordova and Lapu-lapu. Sitoy accompanies Marcos and Mayor Chan and Vice Mayor Sitoy welcome him.

Spotting the Ballot Boxes

Marcos compares the state of the ballot boxes in Cebu to what he saw during the recount for his electoral protest against the presumptive VP Leni Robredo. The container were not as robust as the ones in Cebu. There were also not wet and tidy. Foreign things were seen in each box that degrade the electoral integrity inthe eyes of the public. That gives him a clear idea on how an untampered ballot boxes look like.

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PRRD’s Crazy Drug Czar Offer Triggers Insurance Talks for Mental Illness


By: Elena Grace Flores
Crazy talks are common these days from media commentaries. This is after the presumptive VP, Leni Robredo critizes the President for leading a failed drug war. PRRD then offers her the drug czar post if she thinks she is that brilliant. Meanwhile in Cebu during the 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel, panelists and media representatives initiate talks about mental illness that triggers suicide among teens in the province. Many people put the blame on the president for creating a lunatic culture since he’s bipolar but the group are into very informative discussions that can save lives including insurance coverage for mental illnes.

YouTube video by Elena Grace Flores
Arnel Pahang, an insurance expert explains the insurance coverage for mental illness in the Philippines.

Mental Illness Spares No One

Everybody is prone to mental illness according to Dr. Rene Obra, a well-respected psychiatrist in Cebu. One can experience anxiety and depression because we are all humans, he added. Therefore, uncomfortable symptoms must not be ignored. Irregularities in the sleeping, eating, and physical habits are symptoms enough for a certain mental illness. It just depends on the degree of the disorder.

Beating the Stigma

Sad experiences are not reasons enough to commit suicide. They are mere triggers. Depression can lead to suicidal tendencies. The feeling of unworthiness is often caused by lack of nutrients and hormonal imbalance. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every morning in an empty stomach can help regulate blood circulation. Thus, helping in getting rid of discomforts internally.

Insurance Coverage for Mental Illness

Arnel Pahang, an insurance expert explains the insurance coverage for mental illness in the Philippines. He said that suicides are actually covered when it happens at least after 12 months of the reinforcement of the policy. This is in the case of life insurance. Although he warns not to encourage suicides but should it happen, it is best to have insurance for more than a year.

Limited Social Insurance Scheme

The new social insurance scheme covers mental disorders but is limited to acute inpatient care. Psychotropic medications are available in mental health facilities. A Commission on Human Rights of The Philippines exists, however, human rights were reviewed only in some facilities and only a small percentage of mental health workers received training related to human rights. These measures need to be extended to all facilities.

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A New VP is Likely to be Next in Line to the Presidency


By: Elena Grace Flores
As rumors regarding the Presidency of PRRD looms because of his health, it is found that Rule 65 is obviously not the PET’s basis for Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest. They  now open the possibility of examining more provinces. This is beyond the 3 priorities of Marcos. The two parties have 20 working days to comment on the results of the initial recount. Plus the 4 issues  in relation to the former ARMM provinces where the alleged massive fraud happens. This Rule 65 is the reason why Senior Associate Justice Tony Carpio and Justice Caguioa differ from the resolution of the majority. However, Marcos’ spokesman, Atty. Vic Rodriguez said that the law goes beyond Rule 65. In fact, it is up to 75. Leni Robredo should already be out of the game if she sticks on that rule because it said that if payment is not made in full such as the case of her counter protest, it cannot continue. Therefore a new VP could be next in line for the Presidency as President Rodrigo Du30 wishes.

YouTube video by CNN Philippines
The Source: Vic Rodriguez and Romy Macalintal

Following Due Process of Law for the Vice Presidency and Presidency

Justice Marvic Leonen said that the decisions to favor Marcos is all part of fair play and due process. The Constitution guarantees due process for the the two top posts – the Vice Presidency and the Presidency. The resolution is not a final decision on the electoral protest case. In other words, this whole case goes on. The election protest starts last June 29, 2016 and it took more than 3 years until the initial recount results.

Review on Marcos’ 3 Courses of Action

Marcos had 3 causes of action as follows:

1st cause of action: Question the integrity of the 2016 elections and declare Robredo’s proclamation as null and void (this is set aside)

2nd cause of action: Declare massive electoral fraud in 36,465 precincts which cover 21 provinces, 5 cities, and one district in Northern Samar. This already includes the 5,415 precincts in Marcos’ chosen pilot provinces of Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Camarines Sur (Irregularities in the pilot provinces cause the justices to vote for the recount to continue).

3rd cause of action: Declare null election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Maguindanao (all part of the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM). (This can be next)

Wider Margin is Not the Basis

Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, who is in charge of the case said that they had to retrieve thousands of ballot boxes, recount millions of ballots, and rule on every objection by both the Marcos and Robredo camps. Their initial recount shows that the margin of votes between the two contenders even widens from 263,473 votes to 278,555 in favor of Robredo. However, the majority of the justices are in favor of Marcos because of the anomalies and the unknown origin of Robredo’s votes. The INC is still in limbo where their votes went in Marcos’ pilot provinces.

Marcos Camp’s Analysis on Rule 65 Can Disqualify Robredo

The former Senator insists that fraus denies him of the vice presidency. The presumptive Vice President also stands firm that she is the real winner in the 2016 race. Rodriguez, however, said the high court could tackle both causes of action at the same time. He rejects PET Rule 65, which the Robredo camp hangs on to. ” We know how to understand the law, the law says ‘may.” It’s permissive. Rodriguez also denies claims that their camp often changes tactics to delay the proceedings. The 3 causes of action are legitimate from the start, he added. Could a new VP be next in line to the Presidency?

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SC: Is a Special Election for the VP Post Necessary?


By: Elena Grace Flores
The tribunal asks both parties; should the court find basis for Marcos’ other cause – would it mean that to nullify the elections for all elective positions in the ballot is necessary? Or if a call for special election for the position of Vice President is a better solution. If so, who has the competence to call for such elections? the court asked. Since this is a democratic country, the people’s call could have much weight. Therefore, the loyalists may be cooking something at this time. Bongbong Marcos can only be thankful to his tireless supporters. 

YouTube video by Bongbong Marcos
PABORABLE ang naging desisyon ng PET hinggil sa ating election protest! MATUTULOY ang pagdinig sa ating protesta.

The SC Exercises Due Process of Law

Don’t undermine the court system, Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen warns those who say that the high court, that acts as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), favors one candidate over the other. Its recent ruling on the poll protestof former Senator Marcos against the presumptive Vice President Leni Robredo may be a factor for this. The court is merely exercising due process and wantes all parties to have their say in the case before the tribunal rules after the 11-2 en banc votes on Marcos’ favor.

Robredo’s Lead Has 2 Interpretations

Lawyers for the Robredo and Marcos camps have different interpretations of the over 15,000 additional votes that Robredo gains in the tribunal’s revision and appreciation of ballots in Iloilo, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental. These are the three pilot provinces that Marcos had chosen for recount. The PET releases its report which shows that the recount of votes in three pilot provinces chosen by Marcos increases Robredo’s lead by 15,093 votes. But Marcos spokesperson and lawyer Vic Rodriguez said the vote gain was “outrageous” and was the reason why the tribunal voted not to dismiss the Marcos protest outright. It does not answer the questions where do they come from and where are the INC members’ votes? 

Deep Throat Informer

The Marcos lawyer also claims that the leak from the Robredo camp indicates that someone from the tribunal offices spies for the Vice President. “It only confirmed our suspicion that Mrs. Robredo’s premature celebration and claim of another fake victory in the tribunal was a product of advance information she’s been receiving all along through a highly placed ‘deep throat,’” he said. He refers to the anonymous source of information that exposes then US President Richard Nixon’s culpability in the Watergate scandal in the late ’70s.

A Special Election for the VP Post May Settle the Dispute

The tribunal said it “will chart a way forward after the initial revision and recount. It allows the parties the fullest opportunity to make their case consistent with due process of law. The resolution is not against the protestant or the protestee. Among the queries that both sides must comment on is whether or not the revision and appreciation of votes in the three pilot provinces renders unnecessary. This is Marcos’ other cause of action. It seeks to annul the election results for the VP post in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan which are proven fraudulent in another protest.

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Bongbong Marcos’ Camp Discloses their Recount Advantage


By: Elena Grace Flores
Atty. Vic Rodriguez, spokesperson of Bongbong Marcos said that the former senator made substantial recovery in the initial recount of 3 pilot provinces. This is under his electoral protest but the number of votes recovered is still unknown. The Supreme Court that sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal voted to release the report on the initial recount of ballots. This is only Marcos’ second cause of action, and it requires parties to comment.

YouTube video by ABS-CBN News
Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Bongbong Marcos’ spokesperson said that they got substantial recovery.

Marcos’ Substantial Recovery

Atty. Rodriguez, however, did not divulge the figures. He said that this would violate the sub judice rule.”If you’re gonna ask us, of course we have made substantial recovery. In the revision, both parties had copies of their respective tallies. But it does not have evidentiary value. This is because their list favors their own interest. My list favors me. That’s why the tribunal has to decide.

The Supreme Court Seeks Comments

The high court gives Marcos and Robredo 20 days to submit a memoranda on the motion to nullify votes for the 2016 vice-presidential election in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao. Former poll commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the SC must act on Marcos’ second action before moving on to his third one that seeks “wholesale” nullification of votes in provinces.

Robredo’s Counter-Protest May Be Dismissed

Rodriguez also said that the high court could tackle both causes of action at the same time. He added that the Supreme Court earlier ruled the two were “separate and distinct.” He rejected PET Rule 65, which the Robredo camp has been mentioning. That states the court may dismiss an election protest “if upon examination of such ballots and proof. After making reasonable allowances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant will most probably fail to make out his case.”Robredo on the other hand still has not paid her balance for the counter-protest. So, this may also face dismissal if that’s the basis of Robredo Camp’s reasoning.

A Matter of Understanding the Law

We know how to understand the law, the law says ‘may.” It’s permissive. Rodriguez also denied claims that their camp has been changing tactics to delay the proceedings. He explains that they filed 3 causes of action from the start. Why would we want to delay this case we have been building for 3 years? The term is only for 6 years. “Why would we seek for a delay? It’s not going to be advantageous to us. It’s not in our best interest and we stand to gain nothing if we have this case because this is much delayed already.