P66-M bond set for Bong­bong protest vs Leni

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By EDU PUNAY

The Supreme Court (SC) has or­dered for­mer se­na­tor Fer­di­nand “Bong­bong” Marcos Jr. to pay P66 mil­lion for his elec­tion protest against Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo to pro­ceed.

But two days af­ter re­ceiv­ing the or­der of the SC sit­ting as the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­toral Tri­bunal, the camp of Marcos quickly filed yes­ter­day an ap­peal seek­ing a lower amount.

In a three-page res­o­lu­tion re­ceived by Marcos’ camp last Mon­day, the PET di­rected Marcos to de­posit the amount needed for the res­o­lu­tion of the protest.

Un­der Sec­tion 33 (b) of the PET rules, a protes­tant is re­quired to make a cash de­posit to the tri­bunal in the amount of P500 per con­tested precinct “if they re­quire the bring­ing of the con­tested bal­lot boxes and elec­tion doc­u­ments to the tri­bunal.”

In his protest, Marcos con­tested the re­sults in a to­tal of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clus­tered precincts cov­er­ing 27 prov­inces and cities.

“Based on the fore­go­ing, the cash de­posit for protes­tant is P500 for each of the 132,446 precincts, which amounts to P66,223,000,” read the or­der signed by lawyer Felipa Anama, SC clerk of court and PET clerk.

Since Marcos al­ready ini­tially de­posited P200,000 upon fil­ing of his protest, he now needs to pay the re­main­ing P66,023,000 in two tranches – P36,023,000 on April 16 and P30 mil­lion on July 14.

In the same or­der, the PET also or­dered Ro­bredo to pay P15.43 mil­lion for her coun­ter­protest against Marcos.

The Vice Pres­i­dent was re­quired to pay P8 mil­lion for the first tranche also on April 16 and P7.43 mil­lion on July 14.

Since April 14 falls on a hol­i­day (Good Fri­day), the first dead­line was moved to the next work­ing day on Mon­day, April 17.

But the camp of Marcos ap­pealed the or­der in a mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

Through lawyer Vic Ro­driguez, the dic­ta­tor’s son asked the PET to de­fer the or­der for pay­ment of the de­posit pend­ing res­o­lu­tion of their plea to set the case for pre­lim­i­nary con­fer­ence.

“We have asked for a re­com­pu­ta­tion of the amount, that in­stead of bas­ing it on the num­ber of es­tab­lished or tra­di­tional precincts, it should be based on num­ber of clus­tered precincts with the ad­vent of the au­to­ma­tion of our sys­tem of elec­tion,” he told re­porters.

Ro­driguez also lamented the “im­pound­ing” of the res­o­lu­tion, pro­mul­gated last March 21 but which they re­ceived only last Mon­day. They were in­formed about the or­der for pay­ment only three work­ing days be­fore the dead­line.

The SC did not re­lease the or­der to the me­dia when it was pro­mul­gated last month.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the set­ting of the amount of de­posit re­quired in the PET case is “in­ter­nal and comes with the pro­ce­dure.”

When asked for a copy of the res­o­lu­tion is­sued about one month ago, Te said he would have to ask per­mis­sion from the PET first.

Ro­bredo’s camp, on the other hand, has re­served com­ment.

“We will re­serve com­ments un­til next week in def­er­ence to this sea­son of Lent and Holy Week,” Ro­bredo’s lawyer Ro­mulo Ma­cal­in­tal said in a text mes­sage, adding that they would re­lease a state­ment on Sun­day in­stead.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29 last year, claim­ing that the camp of Ro­bredo cheated in the au­to­mated polls in May also year. He sought an­nul­ment of about a mil­lion votes cast in three prov­inces – Lanao del Sur, Basi­lan and Maguin­danao.

Ro­bredo filed her an­swer in Au­gust last year and sought the dis­missal of the protest for lack of merit and ju­ris­dic­tion of PET.

But the PET, in a rul­ing ear­lier this year, junked Ro­bredo’s plea and pro­ceeded with the case af­ter find­ing of suf­fi­ciency in form and sub­stance.

Ro­bredo won the vice pres­i­den­tial race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos, who got 14,155,344 votes.

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