Erratum: Story header previously states “Marcos pays Php 360M to comply with protest, sees win over Robredo”. We apologize for the error. Correction has been made.
By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent
Complying with a Supreme Court requirement, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos paid PHP 36 million and said this compliance would hasten the formal proceedings on his election protest against Vice-president Leni Robredo which he expects to win hands down.
Marcos was required to pay PHP 500 for each of the 132,446 polling precincts that he questioned and where a recount will be held. This added up to PHP 66.2 million which the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), required Marcos to produce until April 17.
“We have done this because it is our heartfelt wish that the election protest be resolved with dispatch,” Marcos said. “Ten months is too long for this open wound to fester. This insecurity and instability is not good for the country.”
In his election protest filed with PET soon after the May 11, 2016 polls, Marcos put to doubt the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts. Based on the Commission on Elections, 39,221 clustered precincts composed 132,446 precincts.
Robredo sought the dismissal of the poll protest but the high tribunal dismissed her petition. The PET junked Robredo’s claim on the grounds cited by Marcos in his complaint is just a “series of wild accusations, guesses, and surmises.”
Recently, the PET ordered the preservation of the “automated election equipment and records such as Vote Counting Machines (VCM), Consolidation and Canvass System (CCCs) units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back-up), and the other data storage devices in all of the 92,509 clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections.”
Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes. He claimed that he was a victim of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, mis-reading of ballots, malfunctioning VCMs, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/under-votes for the position of vice-president.
Marcos, through his lawyer George Erwin Garcia, received the SC order on March 21 requiring him to pay PHP 66 million by April 10.
“My close friends contributed to raise the PHP 36 million, even supporters who accompanied me here have chipped in because the time given to raise the PHP 66.2 million was not enough,” Marcos said.
The PHP 200,000 filing fee paid by Marcos when he filed the protest had been deducted from the amount required. The High Court then allowed Marcos to pay in two installments—PHP 66.2 million on April 17 and the PHP 30 million balance can be paid on or before July 14. The court also ordered Robredo to pay PHP 15.7 million.
Marcos personally went to the Supreme Court to pay PHP 36,023,000. The check was received by Jeffrey Raymond Atienza, assistant officer in charge of the Cash Collection and Distribution Division of the Fiscal Management and Budget Office.
Hundreds of Marcos loyalists waited for the former lawmaker outside the Supreme Court building on Padre Faura St. in Manila.
“Hanggang ngayon hindi pa alam ng taumbayan kung sino ba talaga ang nanalong bise- presidente noong nakaraang halalan. Sa palagay ko ang isang taon ay masyado nang mahaba. I hope this compliance we have done to the Supreme Court’s order will go a long way to getting the process right,” Marcos told reporters.
The PET’s denial of Robredo’s petition apparently gave Marcos the notion that he could win the election protest over Robredo, plus the fact that President Duterte is not on good terms with Robredo and had on more than one occasion indicated his preference for Marcos as vice- president.
Robredo’s camp last April 17 said Marcos should pay PHP 185 million for his election protest. Romulo Macalintal, the lead counsel of Robredo, noted that Marcos’ dues should be PHP 185 million because Marcos is protesting the results of all 369,138 established precincts.
Macalintal said Robredo will not pay the fee required by the tribunal just yet.