MANILA – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo sought the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to treat as a “sham pleading” the motion by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. which called for the PET to dismiss Robredo’s counter-protest for failing to pay her protest fee on time.

PH NEWS - ROBREDO - Vice President Leni Robredo (Facebook page) copy
Vice President Leni Robredo (Facebook page)

Robredo also asked the PET to strike off the record the Marcos motion.

Marcos trooped to the SC to ask that the counter-protest of Robredo be dismissed for her failure to pay P8 million as down payment for her protest fee, the reported.

He quoted Rule 34 of 2010 Rules of the PET which grants the body “to dimiss the protest or counter-protest or take such action as it may deem equitable under the circumstances.”

He also cited two cases where the SC dismissed electoral protests for non-payment of the protest fees.

But Robredo said that she filed a motion prior to the deadline of the payment of the down payment which was eventually turned down by the SC. She then paid it on May 2.

She added that with the payment of the down payment, the Marcos motion should be considered moot and academic.

She claimed that it is not mandatory for a protest to be dismissed because of the failure to pay the cash deposit.

“Marcos conveniently omitted to say that the dismissal of a protest or counter protest, as the case may be, due to the non-payment of cash deposit is discretionary and not mandatory,” stated the motion dated May 5, the report added.

“Rule 34 of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as invoked by protestant Marcos, provides that the tribunal may dismiss the protest or counter protest. The use of the word ‘may’ operates to the discretion of the Honorable Tribunal. Hence, the non-payment of the cash deposit does not result at all to the dismissal of the counter protest,” it added.

The SC required both Robredo and Marcos to pay a total of PhP81.46 million to allow their protests to move forward. The amount is meant for the retrieval of the contested ballots and election documents from the contested precincts. Five hundred pesos are needed per contested precinct.

Marcos was ordered to pay a total of P66 million while PhP15.46 million is for Robredo to cover over 36,000 clustered precincts.

The deadline for the payment of the second installment is on July 14.

By: Sam Bautista



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