Election petition: Philippine court rules against V-P

MANILA • The Philippine Supreme Court has denied an attempt by the Vice-President to stop a formal protest against her election win that was lodged by the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos - who insists that he was robbed of the No. 2 post.

Social activist Leni Robredo was elected vice-president in May last year, winning by about 260,000 votes over former president Marcos' son and namesake.

Popularly known as "Bongbong", Mr Marcos said he was the rightful winner, and votes were stolen from him. He asked the court to order a recount of more than one million votes in the south, and nullify balloting in three provinces. Mrs Robredo, in turn, asked the court to reject his petition.

Mr Marcos yesterday released the court's Jan 24 ruling, which found his petition "sufficient in form and substance".

His lawyer, Mr Victor Rodriguez, said: "We just want the truth to come out. It's that simple."

The vice-presidency is largely ceremonial and has no official role in the Cabinet, unless given a portfolio by the president.

However, some political commentators believe that Mr Marcos wants the vice-presidency as a stepping stone to the top job.

Mrs Robredo's relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte is far from close, and he has frequently made jokes in public at her expense. She has been critical of some of his policies, including his war on drugs.

Last year, Mr Duterte instructed aides to tell Mrs Robredo to cease attending his Cabinet meetings, prompting her to resign as Housing Minister, while remaining as Vice-President.

Rumours have swirled that Mr Duterte favours Mr Marcos, and that while in China last year, he introduced him to officials as the Philippines' Vice-President. Mrs Robredo has made the same claim, but has not provided evidence to support it.

Mr Duterte has denied that he is trying to oust her.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Election petition: Philippine court rules against V-P'. Print Edition | Subscribe