Supporters of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo have raised at least P400,000 thus far in their “PISO para sa Laban ni Leni” initiative which seeks to aid Robredo in paying her counter protest against former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
Leading the initiative are six awardees of The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (Towns) who filed a petition for intervention before the Supreme Court serving as the presidential electoral tribunal (PET) last June 27. They are: President Cristina Yuson of Museo Pambata Foundation, Inc., former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, former government peace panel member Paulyn Sicam, singer Maria Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo, Director Maria Karina Bolasco of the Ateneo University Press and Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, former Home Development Mutual Fund chief executive officer.
Purificacion Bernabe, counsel for the petitioners, said her clients were confident that the PET would allow them to pay for Robredo’s counter protest dues because their effort was anchored on their right to suffrage provided under Article 5 of the 1987 Constitution.
“So far, we have raised P401,358 from various individuals. We are doing this because we want to protect our right to suffrage that is guaranteed by our Constitution. We are registered voters, and the result of exercising such right is our vote for Leni. Protecting our right to suffrage also means protecting the outcome of the election. Having said that, we want to contribute,” Bernabe said in a news conference at the Museo Pambata on Tuesday.
Robredo’s supporters, however, are up for an uphill climb since at present, at least three laws prohibit Robredo, a sitting government official from receiving donations in the course of her official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the Office of the Vice President.
These laws are: the Anti-Graft law, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Presidential Decree No. 46.
Still, Bernabe stressed that awardees’ unprecedented effort stood on strong legal ground also because of Article 2 of the Constitution which reads: “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
“The right to suffrage is an exercise of the sovereign power of the people. How do we exercise such sovereignty? By casting our votes for leaders that we want. The Supreme Court will have to strike a balance between jurisprudence and the Constitution, and we are confident that it will consider the Constitution over other existing laws,” Bernabe said.|
“Yes, there is no previous jurisprudence or existing case in law favorable to our cause, but it doesn’t make our case less formidable. Our case is compelling because our right to suffrage and protect are constitutional provisions,” Bernabe added.