Robredo camp: 'Very weak' Marcos protest includes too many provinces

Robredo camp: 'Very weak' Marcos protest includes too many provinces

Former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Jr. should pay P185 million for his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said. Philstar.con/Efigenio Toledo IV, file

MANILA, Philippines — The electoral protest filed by defeated vice presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo is "very weak," her lawyer said.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, lead counsel for Robredo, said that Marcos protested voting results in too many provinces in his claim of being cheated of an electoral victory.

"The problem with the protest of Mr. Marcos is that he presented a very weak protest. Masyadong madami. He could not concentrate on only one or two provinces," Macalintal said in an interview with ANC's Headstart on Tuesday morning.

Macalintal noted that Marcos' protest involves 18 provinces and five highly urbanized cities — about 800 municipalities and cities.

"In local elections, one case of a municipality will take about one year to finish," the election lawyer said.

Robredo's lawyer stressed that they were not satisfied with the order of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for Marcos to pay P66 million for the 36,465 clustered precincts that he protested.

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Marcos should pay cash deposits of P185 million for all the 92,509 clustered precincts included in his protest, Macalintal said.

"The order of the Supreme Court appeared that it's already the final computation so we had to come up with a clarification with the Supreme Court that actually this is only the 36,000 precincts that Mr. Marcos is protesting but the entire 92,000 precincts," Macalintal said.

Macalintal added that the Marcos protest was the reason the return of election materials to service provider Smartmatic was delayed.

"I think the Comelec is now being asked by Smartmatic to pay about P2.1 billion because the contract between Comelec and Smartmatic is that if the machines are not returned within December 2016, then all machines will be considered as sold," Macalintal said.

The lawyer said that the Robredo camp is willing to pay for its counter-protest only after the Marcos camp finishes the revision and recount of ballots.

The PET also ordered Robredo to pay a cash deposit of P15.6 million for the 31,278 precincts included in her counter-protest.

"The payment that we are supposed to pay is for our counter-protest. So the counter-protest will only start after the protest and that is under Rule 65 of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal," Macalintal said.