MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr paid the first installment of the recount fee that the Supreme Court (SC) ordered him to pay so his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo would proceed.
Marcos went to the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), on Monday, April 17 – the deadline for payment of the first tranche of P36 million.
The defeated vice presidential candidate said friends and supporters pulled in resources to raise the P36 million.
The second installment of P30 million should be paid on or before July 14.
“Masyado nang matagal ang isang taon. Mag-iisang taon na mula nung nakaraang halalan, hanggang ngayon hindi pa alam ng taong bayan kung sino ba talaga ang nanalo bilang bise presidente,” said Marcos in a brief interview.
(One year is too long a time. It has been almost a year since the last elections and until now, the Filipino people still do not know who was really elected vice president.)
“I hope this compliance we have done [with] the SC order will go a long way of getting the process started,” he added.
In a resolution dated March 21, the SC had ordered Marcos and Robredo to pay a combined P81 million for the recount of the contested ballots in the 2016 vice presidential race.
Robredo was ordered to pay P8 million for the first tranche and P7.43 million for the second.
Marcos filed an election protest against Robredo in June 2016, contesting 39,221 clustered precincts which are composed of 132,446 established precincts. Robredo, meanwhile, filed a counter-protest, questioning 8,042 clustered precincts which are composed of 31,278 established precincts.
After the SC ordered both camps to pay the recount fees, Marcos’ camp argued that the computation of the fee must be based on the clustered precincts being contested and not the established precincts.
The lawyers of the defeated vice presidential candidate also said that they are only seeking a recount of the ballots in 36,465 out of the 39,221 clustered precincts.
But Marcos’ lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez clarified that they were unable to file a motion for reconsideration last Wednesday, April 12, since the SC was on half-day duty because of Holy Week.
Filing a motion for reconsideration now, however, would appear contradictory to their move on Monday, said Marcos’ lead counsel George Garcia.
They will, however, file a motion to dismiss Robredo’s counter-protest against Marcos on the basis that the Vice President’s camp failed to pay the amount required of them.
Robredo had filed a manifestation last Wednesday, saying Marcos should be first to pay the fee and initiate the opening of ballots from 3 chosen provinces to prove that his protest has sufficient basis.
The Vice President’s lawyers also said Marcos should pay P185 million instead of P66 million because his first pleading before the PET sought the protection of election paraphernalia in all 92,509 clustered precincts (369,138 established precincts) used during the May 2016 elections.
But Garcia said on Monday that what the Robredo camp filed was a manifestation questioning the amount due for Marcos and not their own fee, so they still have to pay on the due date. – Rappler.com