LOS BANOS, Laguna - Vice President Leni Robredo claimed on Friday that her defeated rival, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. was using "unpaid debt" to the country to fund his attempt to return to power.
Robredo made the statement at a forum with students of the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos where she was asked to give a comment on Marcos, who questioned her victory in the May 9 elections.
"Nakakalungkot lang na maraming kautangan sa bayan na hindi pa nababayaran at iyun ang din ang ginagamit para makabalik sa kapangyarihan. Tapos na ang eleksyon, tingin ko alam naman niya na hindi siya nanalo," Robredo said.
(It is sad that there are a lot of debt to the country that have yet to be paid and this is being used for his family's return to power. The election is already finished, I think he knows that he did not win.)
Robredo also tagged Marcos in a supposed "mega machine" that spins lies on social media.
"Itong gulo sa social media, bahagi ito ng pagkatalo niya sa election... Maraming nangyayari ngayon sa social media na hindi totoo. Mayroong mega machine na nangyayari dahil pa rin sa paggamit ng pera," said Robredo, who was once linked by online bloggers to a supposed plot to remove President Rodrigo Duterte from power.
(This chaos in social media is part of his defeat in the election. A lot of what happens on social media is not true. There is a mega machine that exists because of the use of money.)
Robredo was a youth activist during the regime of Marcos' father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Vice President has been critical of the Marcos family over their alleged ill-gotten wealth and the human abuses during the Marcos patriarch's dictatorship.
The younger Marcos lost to Robredo by roughly 200,000 votes and has filed a protest assailing the election results in over 39,000 clustered precincts.
As ordered by the Presidential Election Tribunal, Marcos on Monday paid P36 million, the first installment of a fee for recounting contested ballots. He has to pay a second installment of P30 million on or before July 14.
Marcos said friends and supporters helped raise money for the protest fee.
Robredo however said Marcos' desire to seize power is a cause for fear, as she brought up the alleged abuses of the Marcos dictatorship anew.
"Iyung desire na makabalik sa kapangyarihan, iyun ang nakakatakot. Kami mas matatanda sa inyo, nadaanan namin ang panahon na maraming karapatang pantao ang nalabag in the name of power and wealth, I am sure na marami sa mga nakaranas ng madilim na panahon na iyun ay ayaw na iyung balikan," she said.
(The desire to return to power is frightening. Older people like us who experienced an era marked with violations of rights in the name of power and wealth. I am sure that a lot of people who experienced this dark period would not want to return to it.)
"Gagawin ko ang lahat para siguraduhing hindi siya makakabalik," she also vowed. (I will do everything to ensure that he does not return to power.)