MANILA—Six years is not enough to recount all the election results being questioned by defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos due to the huge number of clustered precincts he wanted to reopen.
In a chance interview, Vice President Leni Robredo’s lead counsel Romulo Macalintal expressed doubt that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can finish the recount of all election results being questioned before the six-year term of Robredo ends in 2022.
“Iyong isang munisipyo na lamang halimbawa, inaabot ng isang taon at kalahati hanggang dalawang taon at dito 18 probinsya at limang highly-urbanized cities ang involved, ‘yan ay about 700 municipalities and 11 cities,” Macalintal said.
Marcos’ camp had accused the vice president’s camp of deliberately delaying the electoral protest.
According to Macalintal, the delay in the electoral protest is caused by the errors committed by the Marcos camp.
“Hindi naman mabagal iyan. Ang problema kasi mahina ang kanyang protesta. Maraming pagkakamali ang kanilang ginawa, napakalawak kasi ng kanyang protesta at hindi nagkaroon ng specific na allegations,” he explained.
He said that based on rules, an electoral protest should have “detailed specifications of the actual omissions committed.”
He said they are asking specific answers to specific questions like, “Who did it? Where was it done? Where it happened? How it happened?”
Earlier, Marcos lead counsel Vic Rodriguez belied Macalintal’s claim.
Rodriguez said the main protest document has 1,000 pages and its attachment has at least 2,000 pages.
He complained that it has been 10 months since they filed the protest and the PET has yet to start the preliminary conference.
He pointed out that in the protest filed by Mar Roxas against then Vice President Jejomar Binay, the PET started the preliminary conference three months after it was filed.
Marcos’s camp on Monday paid an initial PHP36 million for its electoral protest, which covers a total of 39,221 clustered precincts. It is expected to pay an additional PHP30 million by July 14.
The PET, meanwhile, required Robredo’s camp to pay a total of PHP8 million for the first instalment and another PHP7.4 million for the second instalment by July 14.
The required fee from Robredo is based on her counter-protest. Robredo’s camp has filed a manifestation before the PET, seeking clarification on the fees that Marcos must settle.
It has not paid the required first instalment.
Macalintal said they have asked PET to determine if Marcos’s protest has basis before making the payment.
Robredo won with 14,418,817 votes against 14,682,290 votes received by Marcos. The 263,473 margin was among the narrowest in the history of the country’s vice presidential elections.