FINALLY, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo yielded to the Supreme Court and complied with a directive for her to make a cash deposit of P8 million in connection with her poll counter-protest against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whom she defeated in the May 2016 vice presidential race.
Robredo personally made the payment on Tuesday before the court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which had given her an ultimatum.
Robredo had refused to make the payment on the deadline set by the PET on April 17, the same deadline given to Marcos to post a cash deposit of P36 million for his protest against Robredo.
She sought to defer the payment of the protest fee by filing a motion for reconsideration. This was questioned by Marcos, who called it a delaying tactic against a vote recount.
Rule 34 of the 2010 PET Rules provides that “[i]f a party fails to make the cash deposits or additional deposits herein required within the prescribed time limit, the tribunal may dismiss the protest or counter-protest, or take such action as it may deem equitable under the circumstances.”
But Robredo said it was “difficult to raise P8 million for the deposit, which was why I asked the high tribunal for more time.”
In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts. He wants a recount in 36,465 precincts, and the annulment of results in the remaining 2,756. Based on Commission on Elections data, the 39,221 clustered precincts are composed of 132,446 precincts. Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes.
The Marcos camp claims the election was marred by “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, secure digital cards pre-loaded with data, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes or undervotes for the position of vice president.
The high tribunal has set a preliminary conference for the recount on June 21.