IT’S not the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that is making Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo worried.
Rather, it is the lawyer’s fees that she needs to pay in connection with the election protest lodged by Marcos against her proclamation in the May 2016 polls.
“[I’m not worried about the protest]. In fact, I prefer it to be resolved swiftly so that it won’t be a part of the conversation anymore and it would not be in the way as I buckle down to work,” Robredo told reporters in a news conference in her office in Quezon City on Wednesday.
“But now, I am forced to hire the services of a lawyer, and I worry about the lawyer’s fees. Our arrangement now is different compared with the canvassing when it was pro bono,” she added.
The Vice President was referring to election lawyer Romu- lo Macalintal.
“I worry about how much the legal fees would cost, and where would I source them from. That would come from my own pocket, and I don’t have much. But as for the substance of the case, we know that it is baseless. [I am not nervous about that],” Robredo, a lawyer, said.
“I am yet to talk again with [Macalintal] but I expect us to engage more often in the coming days. During the canvassing, we did not talk about the fees, but it is different now because it is a full-blown case. [I would not be comfortable to ask him for a pro bono help for so long],” she added.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has given Robredo’s camp 10 days to respond to the election protest filed by Marcos and ordered the Commission on Elections to preserve election returns (ER) that were subject of the protest.
Macalintal earlier dared the Marcos camp to show a genuine ER that does not match the ER of the same precinct issued to other parties to prove fraud—something that the Marcos camp is yet to accomplish.
Robredo beat Marcos in the tightly contested vice presidential contest by 263,473 votes.
“I would expect the legal fees to be expensive because an initial deposit before the court made by their camp is already around P200,000. If the case drags on, then the fees would increase too. That is what is difficult for me,” Robredo said.
“But as for the case itself, I have nothing to worry about because I have nothing to hide,” she added.