MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo has urged the Supreme Court to junk former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s bid for the dismissal of her poll counter protest in connection with the May 2016 elections due to her failure to meet the deadline set by the tribunal for the first tranche of payment intended for the retrieval of election materials.
Robredo called Marcos' motion a "sham pleading," and stressed that
though belatedly, she was able to comply with the order on May 2.
The SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), earlier directed Robredo and Marcos to pay the first tranche of payments, P36-million for Marcos and P8-million for Robredo, on or before April 17.
Marcos was able to comply with the deadline, but Robredo moved for deferment of payment and complied with the order following the issuance of a second resolution that directed her to make the necessary payment.
Marcos' protest covers 39,221 clustered precincts or a total of 132,446 precincts, while Robredo's counter-protest covers 8,042 clustered precincts or a total of 31,278 precincts.
The margin of votes between Robredo and Marcos was merely 263,473 votes.
In his motion for the junking of Robredo's counter-protest, Marcos cited Rule 34 of the 2010 Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which empowers the body "to dismiss the protest or counter-protest or take = such action as it may deem equitable under the circumstances."
Marcos also cited two cases where the SC upheld the dismissal of election protests for non-payment of required cash deposits on time.
Robredo told the PET it was wrong for her rival to raise the cases ofPerla Garcia vs. the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Angping and Bienvenido William Lloren versus the Commission on
Elections and Pua. She insisted that the issue in the Garcia case was the failure to pay the cash deposit simultaneous with the filing fees, while the Lloren case centered on the payment of the appeal fee.
Robredo said the junking of a poll protest due to non-payment of or failure to pay the required cash deposit on time is merely discretionary on the part of the tribunal, not mandatory.
"Rule 34 of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as invoked by protestant Marcos, provides that the tribunal may dismiss the protest or counter protest. The use of the word 'may' operates to the discretion of the Honorable Tribunal. Hence, the non-payment of the cash deposit does not result at all to the dismissal of the counter
protest," Robredo's motion read.
The PET has set another deadline for the completion of both parties of the required payments for the retrieval of poll materials, on July 14.
Marcos was ordered to shell out an additional P30-million and Robredo another P7.44-million for the second tranche.