The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), denied the motion for reconsideration plea of the supporters of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo that they be allowed to pay the balance of her counter-protest fee in connection to the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos
The PET upheld its July 11 ruling denying with finality the petition of Proponents of the Piso Para Kay Leni movement to allow them to pay the balance in behalf of VP Leni.
“Latter have neither legal interest in the matter subject of the instant protest nor will be adversely affected by its resolution,” read the resolution dated November 7.
It will be recalled that the Piso Para Kay Leni Movement led by Museo Pambata chair Cristina Lim-Yuson has asked the PET to allow them to pay the rest of Robredo’s counter-protest fee amounting to PHP7.4 million.
The PET has originally directed Robredo to pay PHP15.4 million.
Aside from Lim-Yuson, the other petitioners are former social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman, former human rights commissioner Paulynn Sicam, former Bases Conversion and Development Authority board director Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, award-winning singer Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo and Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco.
The petitioners said there is a need for the PET to reverse its earlier ruling since what have been raised is a matter of “transcendental importance.”
“This is a necessary exercise of the right of suffrage considering that VP Leni will be deprived of her victory, we will be deprived of her victory because she is financially disadvantaged,” they said in their plea.
They also explained that the PET decision denied them of their right to protect their vote for Robredo.
Likewise, they said they were able to establish that they have “locus standi” or the ability to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support their participation in the case.
Proponents of the Piso Para Kay Leni movement then petitioned the PET for them to pay the balance, raising PHP7,520,679.04 from some 25,000 supporters over the past few months.
Following the PET’s decision, the group said they are now planning the turnover of the fund to Angat Buhay priority projects, the flagship anti-poverty program of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
The group met with Robredo at her office in Quezon City on Wednesday where they planned on how to properly turn over what they collected from their initiative.
“The money given by thousands of VP Leni supporters will now promote the welfare of our poor countrymen as this was the alternative plan from the onset in the event that our petition would not be granted by PET,” said Museo Pambata founder Cristina Lim-Yuson, one of the founders of the initiative.
The group said the OVP will identify a high-impact project or two that will benefit from the fund drive.
Marcos filed the protest on June 29 last year, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the May 2016 polls.
He sought the annulment of about a million votes cast in three provinces –PET Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.
In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.
In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.
She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.
The high tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding the protest sufficient in form and substance.
Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes. (PNA)