PET extends Leni’s deadline in order to pay remaining P7.43M poll protest fee

The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has granted the request of the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo for an extension of her deadline to pay the remaining P7.43 million required to process her election counter protest against former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

No specific date was given by the tribunal during the preliminary conference on Tuesday for Robredo to settle the balance even as it ordered her camp to put the justification for the extension in writing.

Marcos completed the payment of the P66.02-million protest fee on Monday, four days ahead of the July 14 deadline.

Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said Wednesday he told the PET that it would be “practical and reasonable” to suspend the vice president’s payment of cash deposit since the tribunal is just on an “exploratory stage” with regard to the collection of ballot boxes.

He also said the pilot revision of ballots as requested by Marcos involved only three provinces.

Macalintal said the extension should be until such time the revision of ballots from the pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental indicated in Marcos’ protest has been completed.

Under the PET Rules, the revision of ballots  will best attest to the votes recovered or will best exemplify the merits or legitimacy of a poll protest.

Macalintal said they would pay if the results show Marcos was able to make “substantial recovery” of votes needed to overcome Robredo’s 263,473-vote lead.

Robredo is required to pay P7,439,000 for the second installment in relation to her counter protest. She posted the initial deposit of P8 million on May 2.

Marcos is contesting the poll results in 39,221 clustered precincts which the Commission on Elections said are composed of 132,446 precincts.

Robredo’s counter-protest covers 8,042 clustered precincts composed of 31,278 precincts.