MANILA, Philippines – Will Vice President Leni Robredo be able to cough up P8 million as first installment to cover the cost of vote recount for her counter electoral protest against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.?
While it had been easy for her political rival to shell out a first tranche of P36 million for his poll protest case against Robredo, the camp of the Vice President admitted that she was finding it difficult to raise the amount even if it was over four times smaller than what was required from Marcos by the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
On Friday, April 28, Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said his client was having a big problem and that Marcos was correct in saying that his rival had no money to defend her 2016 poll victory.
“Malaki ang problema ni Vice President Robredo… Tama si Mr. Marcos, walang pera ang kanyang kalaban,” said Macalintal in an interview with dzMM radio.
Marcos is much wealthier than Robredo. In 2014, the former senator declared a total net worth of P200.59 million. This was almost 25 times bigger than Robredo’s declared total net worth of P8.03 million during the same year when she was still Camarines Sur representative.
But according to Marcos it wasn’t him but his 40 friends and supporters who had contributed to cover the initial cost of recount.
A list provided by Marcos’ camp to media showed that among his donors who had helped him raise the P36 million-tranche were businessmen, bigwigs in politics, and long-time allies of the former senator and his family. They are:
1. RAMIR ARCE ROMERO – Of Arce Foods Corporation, which is known for its signature Arce Dairy Ice Cream product line
2. JETHRO DIONISIO – Well known sportsman, sharp/practical shooter; 1987 national shooting champion; represented the Philippines in the 2004 Summer Olympics; won the 1990 U.S. Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Competition
3. FERNANDO O. PEÑA – Member of the Philippine Constitution Association, whose former president is the ex-Congressman Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, a cousin of Bongbong Marcos. Peña is president of MOF Company (Subic) Inc. – Cargo Handling Solutions.
4. VALENTIN PRIETO JR. – Connected with City Service Corp. engaged in janitorial services, housekeeping, and building maintenance based in Pasay City
5. BIEVENIDO ONGKIKO JR. – Owner and manager of Manila Embroidery Gold, Inc. based in Makati City, known for its business in corporate clothing, high event clothing, and corporate uniforms
6. CARLOS M. FARRALES – Former head of Philcomsat (Philippine Overseas Communications Satellite Inc.) during the time of the late president Ferdinand Marcos; served as officer-in-charge of Domsat or Domestic Satellite Philippines, Inc. in 1986 during the incumbency of the late former President Corazon Aquino.
7. JOSE FABIAN P. CARMONA – An official of the Urdaneta Village residential enclave in Makati City
8. ELIZABETH AGUILAR-MASANGKAY – Sister of Senator Cynthia Villar, barangay chairperson of Putatan, Muntinlupa City
9. RUBY DIAZ-ROA – Sister of 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz who was the wife of the late businessman-restaurateur Gabriel “Bong” Daza, a widely-known friend of the Marcos family.
Ruby is the mother of Georgia Isabel Diaz Roa, who is the wife of former congressman Gilbert Remulla. The Remullas of Cavite province are known for their strong ties to the Marcoses. The late governor Johnny Remulla, father of Gilbert, had cultivated decades-long friendship with Bongbong’s father and namesake President Ferdinand Marcos.
10. ALFREDO D. ROA III – Husband of Ruby Diaz Roa, is an independent director of Araneta Properties Inc; president of Rural Bank of Alfonso in Cavite; president of Inland Corp; chairman ng Jjb Inland Logistics, Inc.
The wife of Bongbong Marcos, Atty. Lisa Araneta, belongs to the wealthy Araneta clan, which also counts former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas, who’s Liberal Party carried the candidacy of vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo during the 2016 elections.
11. GABRIEL “GABBY” ROA-LIMJOCO – Educator and pre-school owner; daughter of Ruby Diaz-Roa and niece of Gloria Diaz; director of Galileo Salcedo, Toddlers Teachers Inc; sister of Georgia Isabel Diaz Roa, the wife of former congressman Gilbert Remulla.
12. JUAN PAOLO TANTOCO – Son of Bienvenido “Rico” Rustia Tantoco Jr. president of Sta. Elena Properties and a member of the board of Rustan’s Group of Companies. The Tantocos are well-known business associates of the Marcos family.
Juan Paolo is the husband of Dina Arroyo, daughter of the late Negros representative Iggy Arroyo by his first wife Marilyn Jacinto, who is the sister of Pinoy rock icon Ramon ‘RJ’ Jacinto, who has been appointed a special economic adviser of President Duterte. Dina is niece in-law of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
13. OSCAR VIOLAGO – president, chief operating officer, and owner of San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group, who is the father of former actress Princess Violago and Anthony Jude “AJ” Violago, a known friend of former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.
Will Robredo’s supporters and allies also help her raise money to defend her poll victory before the PET?
Nobody can say yet. But Macalintal on Friday said the Vice President’s camp would do everything to raise the amount required for the vote recount.
“Pero talagang sisikapin, talagang pipilitin para maipagtanggol ang kanyang karapatan,” he said.
Robredo is required by the PET to shell out a total P15.7 million to retrieve poll materials for her election protest against Marcos, covering the recount of election returns from 31,278 precincts.
Marcos, meanwhile, was ordered to pay a total of P66.2 million for the recount of votes in 132,446 precincts.