SC gives Robredo more time to pay deposit
The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has given Vice President Leni Robredo more time to settle the P7 million in unpaid cash deposit for her counterprotest against former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whom she defeated in the 2016 vice presidential election.
Robredo’s lead counsel Romulo Macalintal told reporters on Wednesday that the 15-member tribunal verbally agreed to grant the Vice President’s request during its preliminary conference on Tuesday.
The conference set in motion Marcos’ attempt to invalidate Robredo’s win in the May 2016 automated elections.
The PET originally set the deadline for the payment of the Vice President’s P15.45-million protest fee for July 14.
She paid the initial P8 million of the required cash bond last April.
Marcos, whose family has been accused of embezzling at least P10 billion in public funds during the dictatorial regime of his late father and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos, has already paid the required P66.2 million in protest fee.
Macalintal will file the necessary petition for the extension of the payment due date this coming Friday as directed by the magistrates.
“There’s no specific period yet. The PET will determine (the period of extension) based on the arguments we will raise in our motion,” Macalintal said, adding:
“Since the tribunal is just on an exploratory stage as to the collection of ballot boxes and that the pilot (areas) involved only three provinces, it is only practical and reasonable to suspend Robredo’s payment of cash deposit.”
Macalintal, however, said the new payment deadline should be set when the electoral body had already completed the review of votes in the three pilot provinces—Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental — which Marcos had identified in his electoral protest case.
Integrity of balloting
Macalintal said the collection of ballot boxes and the actual recount of votes might not happen until early next year since the complaint brought by Marcos was the first case to question the integrity of the automated balloting.
Claiming he was cheated, Marcos is protesting the results of the balloting in 132,446 voting precincts of 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 cities and provinces.
In her counterprotest, Robredo, who narrowly beat Marcos by more than 260,000 votes, has challenged the results of the election in 31,278 polling precincts.
“For as long as we are on the side of truth, we have nothing to fear,” Robredo said when she spoke to reporters in Naga City on Tuesday.
Robredo said she was confident that no irregularity happened in her home province of Camarines Sur, one of the areas whose election results were being questioned by Marcos.
Robredo also asked donors seeking to help her raise money for the legal fees to inquire with the Supreme Court on how they could contribute. —With a report from Juan Escandor Jr.
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