Marcos asks SC to junk Robredo’s plea over failure to pay poll protest fee

MANILA — Former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., on Thursday filed an omnibus motion before the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to dismiss counter protest filed by Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo after she failed to pay the first installment for the election protest case.

In an eight-page Omnibus Motion, Marcos asked the SC to dismiss the counter protest filed by Robredo for failure to pay the required cash deposit within the prescribed time limit.

“In view of the failure on the part of the protestee/counter-protestant to pay the first tranche of the cash deposit for her counter protest within the deadline set by this Honorable Tribunal, protestant Marcos is now constrained to move for the immediate dismissal of the counter protest,” read the omnibus motion.

George Erwin Garcia, Marcos’ legal counsel said that Robredo’s filing of a manifestation with urgent ex-parte omnibus motion does not excuse her from paying the cash deposit since the same is obviously dilatory.

“Robredo’s intention to further delay the proceedings in this case is evident from the arguments raised in her latest submission. Protestant Marcos finds it quite ironic that Robredo would ask for the deferment of the payment of her cash deposit even though she had already expressed her conformity and willingness to pay the same in the Manifestation with urgent ex-parte omnibus motion,” Garcia added.

Marcos also reiterated his earlier request for the immediate setting of the preliminary conference.

Last March 21, the PET ordered Marcos to pay PHP66,223,000 for the 132,446 precincts for his election protest against Robredo to proceed.

In its three-page resolution, PET ruled that Marcos should pay PHP36,023,000 on or before April 14 and PHP30-million on or before July 14 while Robredo is required to pay PHP8 million on or before April 14, and PHP7,439,000 on or before July 14.

Last April 17, Marcos went personally to the SC Clerk of Court to pay the first installment.

In an open letter to the PET, Marcos’ friends and supporters said that the second tranche amounting to PHP30 million would be paid on or before July 14.

The total amount would cover the cost for the resolution of Marcos’ election protest against Robredo.

Robredo, on the other hand, was reportedly required to pay the cash deposit in PHP8 million last April 14, which happens to be Good Friday, and another PHP7,439,000 on or before July 14.

But Robredo reportedly failed to pay the partial PHP8 million and instead filed a manifestation last April 12.

In a manifestation, Robredo through her lawyer Romulo Macalintal asked the PET for clarification on its order directing her to pay the amount saying that the rules do not require her to deposit the said amount yet.

He said that under Rules 65 of the 2010 Rules of the PET, Robredo should be asked to pay the cash deposit only after there is a necessity to retrieve and collect her counter-protested clustered precincts.

“Thus, without preempting the Honorable Tribunal, protestee Robredo asks that the payment of her cash deposit be deferred until such time that that the recount and revision of all the 36,465 protested clustered precincts has terminated,” the manifestation said.

He further said that the motion for reconsideration they have filed of the resolution finding the election protest as sufficient in form has yet to be resolved by the PET and that any favorable action on their plea will have an effect or bearing on the total number of clustered precincts that would be the subject of the election protest.

But Macalintal stressed in their motion that they are not abandoning their obligations, adding that they just wanted the PET to clarify its order.

“Should this motion be denied, protestee Robredo is willing to pay the cash deposit for her counter-protested clustered precincts,” he added.

Marcos earlier said he decided to file the electoral protest due to the series of frauds, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections and that such activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party.

Robredo won the 2016 vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes.