MANILA - Vice-President Leni Robredo on Friday (May 13) admitted the results of the May 9 presidential election "were not in our favour", without officially admitting defeat by Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the late dictator.
Speaking to tens of thousands of supporters at a thanksgiving mass at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, Ms Robredo said she would launch the country's "largest volunteer network" on July 1, Mr Marcos Jr's first day in office.
The volunteer movement would ferret out the truth, she said, as she blamed her likely loss to a machinery that "stole the truth", as well as history.
"We still have a lot left in the tank. I will devote all my energy to fighting lies. We have to be a united movement for the truth," she said.
There was no concession speech, but she admitted that "according to the picture that's emerging, we have to accept that the results are not in our favour".
"We have to accept the will of the majority. You have to be with me on this," she said.
Unofficial results show Mr Marcos Jr getting close to 32 million votes, double Ms Robredo's. Over 98 per cent of about 55.4 million ballots have been counted.
The stunning result has not dampened her supporters' enthusiasm. Wearing black and pink, they trooped to Ateneo for an assembly meant to rally hope.
By 5pm, a sprawling field was packed even as more people, many of them students, arrived in droves. Some sat on the pavement or beside the college buildings in Ateneo, a sprawling university run by the Jesuits.
Ms Angel Eclevia, 22, a University of the Philippines philosophy student, said this was her first rally.
"This is my way of giving thanks to all the kakampinks who went from house to house, for the efforts of VP Leni and her team. I'm here to give thanks and to show that I'm also a kakampink although I wasn't able to vote," she said, using a term Ms Robredo's supporters use to describe themselves.
The word is a play on "kakampi", the Filipino word for "ally", and pink, the theme colour for Ms Robredo's presidential campaign.
Ms Ecleviahas a disability that she said made it difficult for her to register as a voter during the pandemic.
She said she could not accept the results of the election in the beginning, but conceded: "But maybe that's what the people really want."
Ms Renzi Silva, 32, was at the thanks...