(UPDATED – 4:19 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has thumbed down the plea of Vice President Leni Robredo to allow her to delay payment of P15 million for the retrieval of election materials for her motion to dismiss former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against her 2016 victory.
The PET gave Robredo five days to shell out the amount based on the March 21, 2017 resolution that the tribunal issued ordering the Vice President to pay a total of P15,639,000 for the retrieval, delivery, and transport of election materials from 31,278 poll precincts.
On Tuesday, the Vice President’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Robredo’s camp had “yet to receive the actual copy of the order” from the PET and they “are still waiting for more details.”
“However, we respect the decision of PET and would like to reiterate Vice President Leni Robredo’s willingness to comply with her obligation to pay the P8 million for her counter protest,” said Malacalintal referring to the first installment of the P15.6-million fee being required by the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the tribunal postponed acting on Marcos’ motion to dismiss Robredo’s counter-protest against him until the Vice President complies with the PET’s directive for her to pay P15.6 million.
On April 17, Robredo’s camp announced that it had asked the PET to allow the Vice President to pay the P15.44 million at a later time when Marcos finally proves that he has sufficient basis for his protest.
“Kaya sabi namin, hindi muna kami babayad kasi, unang-una, dapat si Mr. Marcos muna ang dapat magpatunay na mayroon siyang sufficient basis for his protest,” Macalintal said.
He said that before Robredo shells out P15 million, Marcos must first prove that he would be able to recover votes and thus the former senator should also be the first one to pay P66 million.
Marcos’ case against his 2016 vice presidential rival hadprogressed after PET ordered the two to shell out a total of P81.46 million for their separate poll protests.
The high tribunal said Marcos must pay a total of P66.02 million that would be used for the retrieval of election materials for his protest against Robredo’s poll victory, while the remaining P15 million must be paid by the Vice President.