SC allows Robredo to defer payment of ₱7.4-M counter-protest fee

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — The Supreme Court on Friday granted Vice President Leni Robredo's motion to defer the payment of ₱7.4 million over an election protest, her office said.

The electoral protest was filed against her in June 2016 by her rival, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

This means Robredo can now put off the payment until Marcos "can prove substantial recovery in his pilot provinces," her office said in a statement.

In his electoral protest, Marcos asked for a manual recount in 27 provinces, with an initial count in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental, places which he said would best "exemplify fraud or irregularities" in the 2016 vice presidential race.

Robredo's office said the high court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), may dismiss Marcos' protest "if the pilot will fail to overturn Robredo's victory."

"We are confident that the recount from the three provinces would only confirm that Mr. Marcos' claim of electoral frauds are all speculations," Attorney Romulo Macalintal, Robredo's lawyer, said.

Robredo was declared the winner in the May 2016 elections, winning by a slim 260,000 votes over Marcos.

She was charged a ₱15-million counter-protest fee after Marcos filed an electoral protest, asking the PET to "annul Robredo's proclamation and declare him as the true winner."

She paid the first tranche of ₱8 million last May and was supposed to complete the payment by July 7, but the PET approved her request for an extension.

On July 13, Robredo filed a motion asking for further extension of the payment deadline until Marcos has made a "substantial recovery in his designated three pilot provinces." Marcos in August said he had no objection to Robredo's request.

Marcos on July 11 completed his ₱66-million poll protest fee to cover the cost of the retrieval of the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia from 39,500 precincts all over the country.