(UPDATED 6:01 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — The counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo slammed former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for not showing up Wednesday, February 7, for the challenge he earlier hurled at her to sign a joint motion to withdraw all pending motions before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and allow the recounting of ballots in his electoral protest.
Not only that, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said in a statement that Marcos “also sent a wrong pleading entitled a ‘Joint Manifestation’ and not a ‘Joint Motion’ as he and his lawyers had been saying to the press in various news releases.”
Macalintal said he waited at a restaurant in Malate for Marcos or his lawyers to show up and sign “a real joint motion.”
Explaining the difference between the two documents, he said: “A motion is a pleading where a party asks the court to grant him the relief or remedies or what he wants from the court. A ‘manifestation’ is a pleading wherein the party merely makes a representation or statement which the court may just take note of without any action at all.”
Thus, he said, Marcos’ manifestation did not ask the PET to dismiss all pending motions.
Macalintal instead signed what he called “a true and correct Joint Motion with prayer to consider as withdrawn and abandoned and dismissed all pending motions that may cause a delay of the recount proceedings.”
“Records will show that it is only Marcos’ Partial Motion for Reconsideration of the PET’s resolution allowing Robredo to secure copies of the ballot images that is pending, hence, we asked for its immediate dismissal in this Joint Motion,” Macalintal said.
“Marcos’ failure to sign a real joint motion is a clear indication that he was merely bluffing when he hurled the challenge to file a joint motion to dismiss all pending incidents knowing fully well that he is the one with pending motion which may affect the recount proceedings,” he added.
Meanwhile, Marcos’ spokesperson, Atty. Vic Rodriguez accused Vice President Robredo of having no intention of withdrawing her pending motions because she supposedly did not sign the motion Macalintal showed the media.
“A joint manifestation is a major pleading and it cannot be done through counsel alone. It should also be signed by the client because it needs his or her conformity,” Rodriguez said in a press release on Marcos’ website.
Rodriguez said this raised doubts regarding her sincerity to hasten the pace of the electoral process, and on the authority of Macalintal, who signed the motion. “Robredo could later on even disown the motion because it was made without her conformity,” the press release reads.
Rodriguez added that Marcos’ joint manifestation was “more sincere” than Robredo’s joint motion because the latter only covered pending motions and not future motions that may delay the proceedings, while Marcos’ joint manifestation covered both present and future motions in the election proceedings.
“It shows lack of good faith. Bakit sila umatras (Why did they go back on their word)?” Rodriguez asked.
He added that if Macalintal was serious about withdrawing all motions, he should have done it through the official route and not by meeting in a fast food restaurant for the signing.
“Signing a major pleading in a pizza restaurant shows an utter lack of respect for the judicial process. There is a proper way to do things and this involves going to the law office of your opposing counsel and handing over the proper documents to them,” Rodriguez said.
This is why, he said, the Marcos camp went to the law office of Macalintal and his co-counsel Ma. Bernadette Sardillo in Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City “first thing today (Wednesday) to give them the complete set of copies of the joint manifestation signed by Marcos and his counsel, George Garcia, together with the corresponding cover letter.”