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    Interview of CNN Philippines: The Source with Atty. Romulo Macalintal

    Atty. Romulo Macalintal

    Legal Counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo

    CNN Philippines: The Source

    PINKY WEBB: Thank you for joining us. I am Pinky Webb. The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has chosen to give more time for both parties—Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Bongbong Marcos—to argue their side. Instead of voting on Marcos’ poll protest, the High Court ordered the release of the committee report on the result of the poll recount. Robredo said she felt relieved that the results of the recount will be publicized, while Marcos insists that he was cheated in the 2016 elections. Let’s go straight to the source of the story. First, we have Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer, Atty. Romulo Macalintal. Atty. Romy Mac, good to see you again. Welcome to the show.

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Isang karangalan, another honor to be a part of your program.

    PINKY WEBB: So happy to have you, sir… So, happy ba kayo doon sa resulta kahapon? How would you describe the decision of the PET?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Siguro partly happy, because our expectation is that the case would be dismissed outright, because the rule is very, very clear—that if Marcos won’t be able to prove any substantial recovery from his pilot precincts, dismissed ang kaso. You know, from the very start, Marcos was asked by the PET, “Mamili ka ng tatlo of the 30 provinces that you protested. Choose three. Kapag wala kang nakita sa tatlo, wala kang napatunayan, dismissed iyan. Payag ka diyan?” “Payag po ako diyan,” sabi niya. He wrote that in the pleadings. During the preliminary conference, it was reiterated by the PET. Iyon din iyong sinabi sa kaniya: “Mr. Marcos, if you won’t be able to prove your case in these three provinces, we are going to dismiss this case. “Yes, Your Honor.” O, nagkaroon naman ng another preliminary conference brief. Stated sa preliminary conference brief, “kapag hindi po kami nanalo sa tatlong probinsya, dismissed po ang kaso.”

    Now, nagkaroon ng recount. We had a recount in Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur. Ano resulta? Aba, nanalo kami sa recount. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason why the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio and Justice Caguioa clearly show that dismissible ang protest because Marcos was not able to make any substantial recovery. Noong malaman niya na wala siyang substantial recovery, biglang sasabihin sa court, “Mr. PET, puwede ba tatlo ulit?” So humihingi siya ng tatlo na naman. Sabi namin, hindi na puwede iyan, because under the rules, tatlo lang probinsya ang puwede.

    PINKY WEBB: So putting it into context, Atty. Romy Mac, humingi po sila ng tatlong pilot provinces, na sinabi naman po ni Vice President Leni Robredo, “hindi kami ang pumili ng pilot provinces na iyan—ang camp ni Bongbong Marcos.” Pinili po nila Iloilo, Negros Oriental, and Camarines Sur. And here, Sir, dito po ang sinasabi ng PET, ibigay sa inyo ang kopya noong recount and reappreciation and reevaluation of the votes. How do you know it’s 15,000 ang lamang ni Vice President Leni Robredo.

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Well, iyon ang estimate namin based on our copy of our revision report. And we will be confirming that the moment we receive the official copy. Although ang amin, official copy ito, but this is our own copy. So we want the copy to come from the official source mismo, sa Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Kaya we are saying na, “Hindi ka na nga nakapag-prove dito sa tatlo, na you’re going to another three provinces. You are only fishing for evidence.” Tama na naman iyan, kasi nagagastusan din naman ang aming kliyente. Mabuti kayo, marami kayong pera. Eh ang kliyente ko wala namang pera.

    PINKY WEBB: Kaya tinawag niyo po itong fishing expedition?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Yeah, fishing expedition, kasi he is just fishing for evidence. Wala naman siyang sinasabing— “Baka sakali may makita kami.” Iyon lang sinasabi niya. So anong ebidensya mo? Eh it was not even offered in evidence. All of a sudden biglang lumalabas itong tatlong provinces from Mindanao. So sabi namin, “the fact that you’re asking for another three provinces only shows that we won in the three pilot provinces.”

    PINKY WEBB: But you’re pretty sure of that, Attorney, na lumamang pa si Vice President Leni Robredo ng 15,000?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Yes, we are very sure.

    PINKY WEBB: However, we need to wait for the official copy—

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Official.

    PINKY WEBB: —of the recount.

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: That is proven by the fact na humihingi siya ng additional three provinces. Kasi kung nanalo siya doon sa pilot provinces niya, hindi na siya hihingi ng additional three provinces. Kaya we are telling the PET, “Mr. PET, hindi naman yata pupuwede ito.” The rule is very, very clear. The rule is very, very clear na pagka hindi ka nakapag-prove sa tatlong probinsya mo, dismissed iyan. That is the ruling sa HRET, sa SET, sa Comelec, sa Regional Trial Courts. I don’t know kung bakit… kung magbabago ang PET.

    PINKY WEBB: So ibabalik ko po doon sa tanong ko kanina: happy kayo doon sa result, pero ano po?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Pero hindi kami happy doon sa ginawa nila na kami ay magbibigay pa ng argument doon sa additional three provinces.

    PINKY WEBB: Iyong hiningan kayo ng memoranda?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Oo, memorandum. Pero kami—

    PINKY WEBB: So you’re happy with the first one?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Happy.

    PINKY WEBB: Dalawa iyon, eh—furnish both camps with copies of the recount, and the second, please give memoranda on the three provinces—

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: At least hindi outright na ginrant kay Mr. Marcos iyon. Iyon kasi ang essence of due process.

    PINKY WEBB: So here’s a question, sir: You’re asked to comment on two things. One is the report, iyong recount of three pilot provinces. Ano hong posibleng comment niyo doon?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Siyempre, the report is tama ang report and we ask for dismissal, because the report says, applying Rule 65, iyong report na iyon would show na wala siyang substantial recovery.

    PINKY WEBB: Ano po ang tugon niyo doon sa second?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Sa second naman, sasabihin namin na hindi na pupuwede iyan, kasi ang technical examination is dependent on the result of the three pilot provinces. Kapag hindi ka naka-prove doon sa three pilot provinces, dismissible ang kaso mo. Sasabihin namin sa court, “Wala na pong katapusan iyan, Your Honor.” Kasi natapos na kami sa pilot, humihingi siya ng another three. Paano mangyayari kung wala na naman siyang makita sa another three? So pupunta na naman—hihingi na naman siya ng another three. Eh wala nang katapusan iyan, baka sabihin naman na kami ay nande-delay ng kaso. Kaya sabi namin, ito, kailangan— Simpleng-simple lang iyan. Bakit nagagawa iyan sa Comelec? Bakit nagagawa iyan sa SET, sa HRET? Sa lower courts ginagawa iyan.

    PINKY WEBB: Iyan po iyong sinasabing precedent. But of course, not a precedent on the vice presidential race. On other—

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: But the same procedure, kasi it will open the floodgates to corruption and a wide latitude of discretion, kasi ang mga lower courts, “Ah, pupuwede na pala kami gumamit ng sarili naming discretion, so kapag kami’y may election protest, may lumapit sa amin matapos ang pilot precincts, puwede rin pala naming i-extend iyan sa other pilot provinces o pilot precincts.” So delikado iyong gagawin ng Supreme Court if it will deviate from the usual jurisprudence on this matter.

    PINKY WEBB: Hence, that is why you filed the resolution—

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Manifestation.

    PINKY WEBB: Manifestation on Rule 65. Sir, there are two things that I wanted to discuss with you. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is retiring on Oct. 26. Ibig po sabihin, wala na po siya sa susunod na botohan. Siya po ang nagsabi na dapat dinismiss na iyong kaso kaya po siya dissenter. Another one is Justice Caguioa, who’s supposed to be the ponente of the case, na dahil nag-dissent po siya—tama ho ba—hindi na siya ang magiging ponente?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Hindi naman, dahil sa unang una, hindi naman completely disregarded ang kaniyang report. As a matter of fact, pinagsa-submit pa kami ng report. Pangalawa—

    PINKY WEBB: But he dissented, Sir.

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Yes. Iyon, he dissented. Pero ang sinasabi lang na dissented ay iyong pag—anong tawag dito—iyong pagbibigay ng karapatan na magbigay nga kami ng comment. But remember, iba ang Supreme Court at iba ang PET. Wala pang internal— Hindi ko alam ang internal rules ng PET.

    PINKY WEBB: On this? On a situation like this?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: If they would be changing the ponente. Pero nagtataka naman ako, bakit ka magpapalit ng ponente. Kahit ba parehong ponente, and later on eh sa tingin ng majority ay mali iyong ponente, they can always submit another opinion and be the majority opinion. Ako, hindi ako masyadong particular sa ponente, eh, because even if you are the ponente, and you make a decision and the majority would say, “Ah mali iyan, gawa kayo ng panibago,” they can always change the rule.

    PINKY WEBB: So what are your… siguro, sir, insights, or ano kaya ang posibleng outcome na mawawala na po si Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who said that this case should have been dismissed?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Well, ang sa amin, okay lang, dahil sa we are also confident that the new justices will review these cases, dahil sa— Kaya palagay ko pinagko-comment nga kami for the sake of the new justices. Alam mo iyong mga bagong justices ngayon ay wala siya noon when we started this case. Ako, almost 18 volumes na—

    PINKY WEBB: Gaano ho ba kakapal ito?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Aba, ganiyang kakapal iyan halos. [gestures] Paano ma-e-examine iyan ng mga bagong justices? And I am sure, kaya iyan nagkaroon ng ganiyang ask for comment is for them to assist, to guide, our new justices in coming up with a good resolution on this.

    PINKY WEBB: Attorney, three years, ano. Tumagal po ito ng tatlong taon, at ang pinag-uusapan pa rin natin—although I guess you can say it would be a bit standard na mabagal iyong umpisa. Pero tatlong taon, tatlong probinsya pa lamang. So you have former senator Bongbong Marcos saying that he’s the true vice president and he’s been robbed three years of the vice presidency. Let’s listen.

    [clip from interview with Bongbong Marcos plays]

    PINKY WEBB: What’s your reaction on that, Sir?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: He’s the one robbing the people of the true results of the election, kasi iyong kaniyang… iyong result ng recount will show na nagsisinungaling siya na nanalo siya doon sa tatlong pilot provinces. He was very, very confident in choosing iyong Iloilo, Camarines Sur, and Negros Oriental. The fact na kinuha niya iyan, parang sinabi niya, “Naku, nadaya ako rito!” O, anong lumabas? Hindi ka nadaya. Talagang tama ang bilang. So sinong nagsisinungaling? Sino ang nagnakaw noong paniniwala ng taumbayan? Siya, ‘di ba? Saka sabi nga ni Vice President, sa kanilang dalawa, sino ba iyong masasabing nagnanakaw?

    PINKY WEBB: Atty. Romy Mac, ito pong…. sabihin na natin for the sake of argument, I know that you are invoking Rule 65, plain and simple. “Hindi ka nanalo doon sa first three pilot provinces; dapat hindi na magpatuloy itong protest.” However, hypothetically, Sir, magpatuloy ito, kayo ho ba ay nangangamba dito sa Maguindanao, Basilan, at Lanao del Sur?

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Ah, wala kaming pangangamba diyan. Kahit na saan, kahit saan ang piliin niya, wala kaming pangangamba diyan. Ang ipinangangamba lang namin, siyempre iyong mga technical examination, ibang bagay na iyan. Matatagalan na naman iyan at magkakaroon pa ng mga agam-agam ang taumbayan. There is still always a cloud of doubt regarding the assumption to Office of the Vice President. That’s why we are really asking the PET to dismiss this case, to have a political stability in our country, to really confirm and affirm the fact that it was the Vice President who really won the election. Para matapos na iyan. Otherwise, nandiyan pa rin iyong sword of the voteless na sinasabi nga na sino ba talaga ang nanalo? Kawawa naman ang taumbayan. There must be an end to this, and we are very, very confident na kahit na anong buksan diyan, panalo kami. And that was already proven by the three pilot provinces, which Marcos described as the best provinces. Ito ngang “best provinces,” wala kang nakuha, eh ano pang mangyayari doon sa iba na hindi “best”?

    PINKY WEBB: Atty. Romulo Macalintal, si Atty. Romy Mac. Sir, maraming salamat po sa inyo!

    ATTY. ROMULO MACALINTAL: Maraming salamat! Isang karangalan ang maging bahagi ng iyong palatuntunan.

    PINKY WEBB: Always good to have you… We’ll be taking a short break. When we come back, we’ll have the lawyer of Sen. Bongbong Marcos here on the show. This is The Source on CNN Philippines. Please stay tuned.

    [END]

    Posted in Transcripts on Oct 15, 2019