Poll tribunal okays reprieve for Leni
THE Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has extended the period for the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo to pay the remaining cash deposit of P7 million for her counter-protest against former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Marcos is protesting his loss of the vice presidency to Robredo in the 2016 election, claiming he was cheated during the counting of the votes and wants a recount.
Robredo in her counter-protest also wants a recounting of the votes in the areas where she lost to Marcos.
Robredo’s lead lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Wednesday said there was no specific period yet for the extension of payment.
“PET will determine [the period of extension] based on the arguments we will raise in our motion,” Macalintal said.
He said they will ask the electoral tribunal that the extension should be until the recount on the three pilot provinces in Marcos’ protest was terminated.
“If the results show Marcos [was] able to make substantial recovery, then we will pay [but] if not, no need to pay because the protest will be dismissed,” Macalintal said.
“And since the first issue to be resolved is [the] integrity of the 2016 automated election system, then I calculate the retrieval and recount may still be held sometime [in] January 2018.”
Former senator Marcos is seeking the annulment of about a million votes cast in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
He is contesting the results in 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.
During Tuesday’s preliminary conference, Macalintal told the PET that, since the tribunal was only in an exploratory stage on the collection of the ballot boxes and the pilot provinces involved only three provinces, it was only practical and reasonable to suspend Robredo’s payment of the cash deposit.
The PET ordered Macalintal to file an appropriate motion, while Robredo’s payment of P7 million on July 14 was extended pending a resolution of the motion.
The tribunal also asked the parties to comment on the summary of issues and evidence prepared by it within five working days.
In June, Robredo paid the initial installment of P8 million of the P15.44 million required by the PET for her counter-protest.