THE Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), should require former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to pay P2 billion for the Commission on Elections’ continued safekeeping of 92,509 vote counting machines (VCMs) and other equipment used in the 2016 elections as he requested, the lawyer of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said Tuesday.
The vice president made the call in a Sept. 5 manifestation with urgent ex-parte motion to resolve the May 25 omnibus motion for the same pleading before the PET, Romulo Macalintal said in a press briefing.
The PET granted Marcos’ pleading preventing Comelec from returning the 92,509 VCMs to service provider Smartmatic by issuing Precautionary Protection Order.
Macalintal said that Marcos should pay the amount since the Senate Electoral Tribunal also made a protestee, former Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to pay P2.2 million for Comelec’s retention of 106 VCMs, which are subjects of Tolentino’s protest against Sen. Leila de Lima who secured the 12th and last spot in the 2016 Senate race.
“We asked the PET to immediately resolve our earlier and pending clarification whether Marcos should be held liable for the P2 billion cost of retention of said VCMs by the Comelec or a resolution be issued directing Marcos to deposit the said amount,” Macalintal said.
“Since Marcos took the same position as Tolentino, it would be very unfair if the entire Filipino people would be the ones to shoulder the said P2 billion just to sustain Marcos’ self-serving, unmeritorious and baseless election protest,” Macalintal added.
Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes in the 2016 polls.
“No public funds have been used for the cost of the retention of the VCMs in the case of Tolentino. The same should apply in Marcos’ election protest,” Macalintal said. LLANESCA T. PANTI