Robredo camp: Bongbong Marcos should pay P185M for poll protest

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(CNN Philippines, April 17) — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said former vice presidential candidate and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos should pay P185 million instead of just P66 million to push through with his electoral protest.

Robredo's legal counsel, Atty. Romulo Macalintal and Atty. Maria Bernadette Sardillo, said that the P66 million only covers the 36,465 clustered precincts when Marcos' protest covers 92,509 clustered precincts.

In a manifestation filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on April 12, Macalintal and Sardillo stressed that Marcos had asked the PET to issue a Precautionary Protection Order over the poll paraphernalia in 92,509 precincts.

This withheld vote counting machines (VCMs), Consolidated Canvass System (CCS) units, and Secure Digital (SD) cards which hold poll data.

According to Rule 33(b) of the Tribunal's 2010 Rules, each precinct to be required to bring back poll documents needs a cash deposit of P500. Thus, all 92,509 precincts under the protection order would require Marcos to pay P185 million.

Marcos' protest mandated the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to back up the contents of the SD cards and VCMs covering the contested precincts.

Robredo's camp also asked the PET to direct COMELEC to submit the itemized costs of payables to VCM owners Smartmatic for the delay in the return of the machines.

The PET initially ordered Marcos on March 21 to pay P66 million as cash deposit to retrieve all ballot boxes and election documents for the Tribunal's manual recount.

The PET resolution also asked Robredo to pay P15.4 million cash deposit for her counter protest.

But Marcos, through lawyer Vic Rodriguez, said Thursday they asked the PET to re-compute the amount needed for the cash deposit, and to defer the payment pending the progress of their electoral protest to a preliminary conference.

Robredo's legal counsel maintained that it will comply with the payment when it "becomes necessary to retrieve the ballot boxes and election paraphernalia in the clustered precincts subject of her counter protest".

They also pointed out that Robredo still has a pending Motion for Reconsideration on Marcos' protest regarding its sufficiency in form and substance.

Read more: Robredo asks Supreme Court to dismiss Marcos poll protest

Marcos filed a poll protest against Robredo in June questioning the integrity of poll paraphernalia used in the May 9, 2016 elections.

The former senator also asked for the annulment of votes in 2,756 clustered precincts—including areas in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan.