Bongbong pays P36M as first installment for poll protest fee
By Virgil Lopez | GMA News Online
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday posted a cash deposit of P36.02 million as initial installment required by the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), for his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Greeted by hundreds of his supporters, Marcos was at the high court to personally process the payment through check.
The PET said the amount will be used for the retrieval of contested ballot boxes and election documents from contested precincts nationwide.
“Hanggang ngayon hindi pa alam ng taumbayan kung sino ba talaga ang nanalong bise presidente noong nakaraang halalan. Sa palagay ko ang isang taon ay masyado nang mahaba,” Marcos, son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., told reporters.
“Kaya sana ang ating mga magigiting na justice ay simulan na ang proseso ng paghuhusga kung sino ba talaga ang nanalo sa nakaraang halalan. Ipagpapatuloy natin ang protesta and I hope this compliance we have done to the Supreme Court’s order will go a long way to getting the process started,” he added.
The former lawmaker said he complied with the PET’s order despite his reservations on the amount imposed by the tribunal. He said the amount was raised through the help of friends and supporters.
Marcos is contesting the poll results in 39,221 clustered precincts, which the Commission on Elections said are composed of 132,446 precincts, while Robredo is questioning the results in 8,042 clustered precincts which are composed of 31,278 precincts.
After deducting the P200,000 initial deposit paid by both parties, the PET said the bill for bringing the poll materials, which is at P500 per precinct, would be P66,023,000 for Marcos and P15,439,000 for Robredo.
Marcos, however, said the PET should use as basis for computing the amount the clustered precincts instead of the established/traditional precincts.
His camp said the basis used would have been relevant had the country not gone automated in its election system.
Marcos also lamented the late release of the order, dated March 21, but received by the camps only last week.
“The manner by which the order was given was parang masyado kaming minadali. Buti na lang maraming lumapit at nag-offer na tumulong,” Marcos said.
Robredo has yet to pay the first installment worth P8 million as her lawyers filed a manifestation before the PET on April 12.
The vice president asked the PET to make a clarification on the fees that Marcos must settle and hold in abeyance the payment required of her for the 8,042 counter-protested clustered precincts.
Both camps are required to pay in two tranches, the first of which should have been received by April 14, which falls on a national holiday in observance of Good Friday.
Because of this, the payment for the first installment was processed the next working day, which is on April 17.
Marcos was ordered to raise P36,023,000 for the first installment and P30,000,000 for the second installment.
Robredo, meanwhile, is required to pay P8,000,000 for the first installment and P7,439,000 for the second installment.
The deadline for the payment of the second installment is on July 14.
Marcos lost to Robredo by just 263,473 votes in the May 2016 election the former senator claimed was marred by fraud.