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Bongbong urges PET to stick to decision junking Leni supporters’ bid

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Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has urged the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to stick to its decision junking the bid of supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to pay the balance of her counter protest fee.

Robredo, whose victory in the May 2016 election has been challenged by Marcos on fraud allegations, has yet to pay the P7.439 million out of the P15.4 million required of her by the PET.

She had asked for more time to raise the amount which the tribunal granted.

Commenting on the appeal of the Piso Para Kay Leni Movement, Marcos said it would be "highly unprocedural" to allow the group to intervene in the poll protest.

The former senator cited Rule 15 of the 2010 PET Rules and jurisprudence which emphasized that an election protest is “strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates, based on the grounds of electoral frauds or irregularities.”

"Besides it would appear that the only purpose of the movants in intervening in the case is to provide financial assistance to the protestee in defraying the cash deposit required for the counter protest. However, this objective may be achieved by the movants without intervening in this protest," read Marcos' comment dated September 15.

Marcos said the Piso Para Kay Leni Movement may donate the fund they have raised directly to Robredo "should they see fit."

"Clearly, there is no legal and factual bases to justify their intervention in this case," the comment stated.

Robredo, for her part, left the matter for the PET to decide.

“[T]his matter is best left to the wisdom and full discretion of the Honorable Tribunal,” the manifestation stated.

The vice president stressed though that her supporters' appeal was "hinged on their right to suffrage."

In seeking for the reversal of the PET resolution, the Piso Para Kay Leni Movement argued the PET Rules do not prohibit the payment of filing of fees directly by the voters.

The petitioners also said they have the legal standing in the election protest being taxpayers and registered voters and that the payment of the balance will "achieve a just and expeditious disposition of the case."

The group claimed that the PET junked their petition without explaining the basis for the denial.

The proponents of the Piso Para kay Leni include Museo Pambata founder Cristina Lim-Yuson, former PAG-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, former human rights commissioner Paulynn Sicam, singer Celeste Legaspi, Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco, and former social welfare secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman.

The group has claimed to have raised P7,442,859.34 from 25,000 people as of August 30, more than enough to cover the balance of Robredo's counter protest fee. —KG, GMA News

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