Press Release
April 12, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 281:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on the ongoing VP ballot recount


The Marcos propaganda machine is on full gear in the election protest case Bongbong Marcos filed against Vice President Leni Robredo. This was probably always Bongbong Marcos's gameplan. The key in this propaganda strategy is misinformation to undermine the 2016 elections.

This is ironic not only for Bongbong, but for the Marcos family as a whole. These are the same elections that put Duterte in power and who, in turn, revived the moribund Marcos's claim to history by paying tribute to the Marcos legacy and allowing the dictator's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

What is sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander. But the Marcos argument is that while the elections reflected the true winner for President, its results produced a fake winner for Vice President. According to the spin, this is proven by wet ballots, missing audit logs and voters' receipts, pre-shaded ballots, and grass inside ballot boxes.

The allegations are of course patently inconclusive to prove anything remotely related to cheating, much less cheating in favor of VP Leni, that no self-respecting election lawyer would repeat the Marcos propaganda. Only empty vessels like Mocha Uson are ignorant enough to echo the propaganda in copy-pasted form, without even bothering to change the Marcos propaganda press release for some semblance of originality.

The truth is that up to the present, and at this late stage of the entire VP election protest saga, Bongbong Marcos is still unable to present any categorical evidence of cheating in VP Robredo's favor, whether perpetrated by her or on her behalf. Like Francis Tolentino's election protest against me, Marcos's protest relies entirely on the acoustics of a well-oiled propaganda blitz.

Both are based on empty charges, and repeat the perennial election loser mantra that the evidence that proves that they were cheated is the fact that they lost. It is an argument based on the tautology that losing is equal to having been cheated, when the explanation can be as simple as the more probable occurrence, and which almost always is the fact, that more voters voted for their opponent than them.

The bitter truth that cannot be accepted by election losers is the fact that they actually lost, and that their opponents can actually be incapable of cheating, unlike them. This is the second tautological argument of election losers. It goes like this: "Like me, everybody cheats. The fact that I lost means I was cheated." Well, maybe sometimes they lost because they didn't cheat enough.

Regardless, whatever tautological argument Marcos uses, the law requires proof. Wet ballots are not enough. Allegations of pre-shaded ballots are not enough. So-called findings of audit logs and voters' receipts not found inside the ballot boxes are not enough. Grass inside ballot boxes is not enough. Resigning Head Revisors is not enough.

Like Tolentino, Marcos cannot win his election protest by acoustics alone. Every election lawyer knows that. You win election protests by showing proof during the recount and revision that you actually got more votes than your opponent. Tolentino failed to do that, as I garnered more additional votes than him during the recount / revision. Let us see if Marcos can do better than Tolentino, although I highly doubt that.

After automation, successful election protests became hard to come by, precisely because of the difficulty of vote-padding and shaving in the Statements of Votes, where wholesale election cheating was usually done in the past, i.e., during the canvassing of election returns. Not a lot of election protests were successful in proving such kind of wholesale cheating, the kind large enough to reverse election results, since the advent of election automation. There is no reason why this time it would be any different for either Marcos or Tolentino.

They should stop exploiting their respective election protests for propaganda ends. They should just admit that they simply lost, and concede. That's what gentlemen would do.

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