By Rey G. Panaligan | Manila Bulletin
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday asked the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to dismiss the counter-protest filed against him by Vice President Leni Robredo for nonpayment of protest fees required by the tribunal.
In a motion, Marcos also asked the PET to set his election protest against Robredo for preliminary conference.
The PET earlier required Marcos and Robredo to pay P66.223 million and P15.43 million, respectively for the retrieval of election materials, their turnover to the tribunal, and the recount of the votes in the election protest and counter-protest.
But since Marcos had already deposited the amount of P200,000 with the tribunal upon the filing of his protest, he has to pay P66.023 million – P36.023 million he deposited with the SC last Monday and pay the balance of P30 million on or before July 14.
Marcos’ payment has been accepted by the PET.
Robredo, on the other hand, was also ordered to make a cash deposit of P15.43 million in her counter-protest covering 31,278 precincts and was required to pay P8 million last Monday, and the balance of P7.43 million on July 14.
However, instead of paying the required P8 million, Robredo asked the PET to hold in abeyance her payment of P15.43 million as deposit for her counter-protest, asking the PET to clarify its order claiming the rules do not require her to deposit the said amount yet.
In seeking the dismissal of Robredo’s counter-protest, Marcos cited election protest cases that were dismissed for non-payment of protest fees.
He cited the cases of Perla Garcia vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, and Rep. Harry Angping and Bienvenido William Lloren vs. Commission on Elections and Rogelio Pua Jr.
“Guided by the foregoing, the dismissal of the counter-protest in this case is therefore warranted given the failure on the part of the protestee/counter-protestant Robredo to pay the required cash deposit within the prescribed time limit of this Honorable Tribunal,” Marcos said in his motion.
He also said it was inappropriate for Robredo to question the PET’s “wisdom and discretion” on the computation of the cash deposit as he stressed that it is only the PET that has “control and exclusive supervision” of all matters pertaining to election protest for President and Vice President, including the computation of the protest fee.