MANILA — Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ camp has asked the Supreme Court (SC), as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to stand by its earlier ruling dismissing the plea of Vice President Leni Robredo’s supporters that they be allowed to pay the balance of her counter-protest fee.
In his comments on the plea of the Piso Para Kay Leni Movement, Marcos said the 2010 PET Rules has emphasized that an electoral protest is strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates and allowing petitioners to intervene by granting their plea would be “highly unprocedural” and has no legal or factual basis.
“It appears that the only purpose of the movants in intervening in the case is to provide financial assistance to the protestee in defraying the cash deposit required for the counter-protest,” he said in his reply dated Sept. 15, made available to reporters Thursday.
He added that this can be achieved without them intervening in the electoral protest.
The former senator said Robredo’s supporters can donate the amount directly to her should they see fit.
The Piso Para Kay Leni Movement, led by Museo Pambata chair Cristina Lim-Yuson, has asked the PET to allow them to pay the rest of Robredo’s counter-protest fee amounting to PHP7.4 million.
The PET had originally directed Robredo to pay PHP15.4 million.
Aside from Lim-Yuson, the other petitioners are former social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman, former human rights commissioner Paulynn Sicam, former Bases Conversion and Development Authority board director Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, award-winning singer Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo, and Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco.
The petitioners said there is a need for the PET to reverse its earlier ruling since what has been raised is a matter of “transcendental importance”.
“This is a necessary exercise of the right of suffrage, considering that VP Leni will be deprived of her victory, we will be deprived of her victory because she is financially disadvantaged,” they said in their plea.
They added that the earlier PET decision denied them of their right to protect their vote for Robredo.
Likewise, they said they were able to establish that they have “locus standi” or the ability to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support their participation in the case.
The group said they have already raised PHP7,442,859.34 from more than 20,000 people as of August 30.
Marcos filed the protest on June 29 last year, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May also last year.
He sought the annulment of about a million votes cast in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.
In his preliminary conference brief, Marcos also sought a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Robredo filed her answer in August last year and also filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.
She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of the PET.
However, the tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding sufficiency in form and substance in the protest.
Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who obtained 14,155,344 votes. (PNA)