Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should pay for the P2.08-billion worth of Commission on Elections (Comelec) lease dues, among others, in connection with Marcos’ poll protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, according to an election lawyer.
Romulo Macalintal, legal counsel for Robredo, made the assertion in a manifestation with a motion for clarification filed on Tuesday before the Supreme Court acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
The Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General, already manifested before the electoral tribunal that Marcos’ protest will cost Comelec P2.08 billion because of the poll body’s failure to turn over to technology provider Smartmatic 97,365 voting counting machines (VCMs) on December 1, 2016.
The Comelec did not turn over the 97,365 leased VCMs to Smartmatic on time because the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has ordered to secure 97,366VCMs and the election management system and accessories leased for the May 2016 elections from Smartmatic-TIM Inc.
“When Marcos filed his election protest, he asked for technical examination and forensic investigation of VCMs used in 92,508 clustered precincts. And on at least two occasions in August 2016 and September 2016, Marcos opposed the closure and stripping activities on the VCMs scheduled by Comelec. Given these developments, the Comelec should make it clear if Marcos will be the one to pay the P2.08 billion. Marcos should pay for it,” Macalintal said in a statement.
He added that Marcos “asked for the annulment of elections and revision of votes in 39,221 clustered precincts but also maintained that the 2016 national and local elections were null and void.”
Also, Macalintal suggested that Marcos should be liable for the P5.62-million monthly dues of Comelec as lease payment for the safekeeping of VCMs in a warehouse in Santa Rosa, Laguna, among other expenses.
The amount was disclosed by the Comelec pursuant to a resolution issued by the electoral tribunal last April
Robredo was notified by the Office of the Solicitor General on June 8.
“If only to avoid confusion on who will be liable for these amounts, we are constrained to seek a clarification,” Macalintal said.
Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes in the vice presidential race last year.