MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral (PET), deferred the payment of Vice President Leni Robredo’s P7.439-million remaining balance in the fee for the election protest filed against her.
In a resolution received by the Robredo camp on Friday, August 18, the PET granted the Vice President’s motion to defer the 2nd installment of the P16-million fee for the counter-protest she filed against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The PET said it would direct Robredo to pay the 2nd installment “only after substantial recovery in his (Marcos) designated 3 pilot provinces.”
Robredo had beaten Marcos by just 263,473 votes during the 2016 vice presidential polls. Marcos accused her of cheating and filed an electoral protest against Robredo, prompting a counter-protest from the Vice President. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
In his complaint, Marcos named 3 provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental – where the pilot recount of votes will be conducted to prove the merit of his protest.
Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, had argued that the Vice President must only pay the fee for her counter-protest after the recount of ballots contested by Marcos is completed.
This is why Macalintal was thankful for the PET’s latest decision, coincidentally publicized on the same day Robredo observed the 5th death anniversary of her late husband Jesse, former interior secretary.
“The grant of our motion to defer payment of balance of cash deposit only affirmed what we had been saying all along that, contrary to former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s claim, the validity of his protest has not yet been resolved by the PET,” said the lawyer.
“We are confident that the recount from the 3 provinces would only confirm that Mr Marcos’ claim of electoral frauds are all speculations,” said Macalintal.
He added the Robredo camp has “sufficient and valid grounds” to prove that Marcos is supposedly using the recount “to fish for evidence, which is not allowed by the rules and as decided by the SC in various cases.”
The PET had earlier ordered the Vice President to pay P15 million for the 31,278 established precincts she is contesting in her counter-protest. Robredo already settled the first half of P8 million on May 2.
She was originally due to pay the 2nd installment of the protest fee on July 14, but the PET granted her first petition to extend the deadline. No new payment date had been announced as of posting.
Robredo’s supporters from the Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni movement already raised around P7 million to help her pay for the balance, but the PET denied the petition asking the court to allow the group to extend financial help to the Vice President.
Marcos, meanwhile, had completed the payment for his P66.2-million protest fee. – Rappler.com