PET owes President Marcos ₱5M in cash deposits for election case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) for not returning unutilized cash deposits to the parties in the election case filed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2016.

In its 2022 report uploaded on its website on May 18, state auditors found the PET has a balance of over ₱13.3 million in cash deposits for the electoral protest filed by Marcos against then Vice President Leni Robredo.

They said the PET should return over ₱5.1 million to the president and ₱8.1 million to Robredo since the case had already been resolved two years ago.

“The inability of management to return unutilized excess cash deposits of the protesting parties is not in conformity with Rule 33 of the 2010 Rules of PET, and places PET in unnecessary indebtedness from a private individual and the President of the Philippine Government,” COA said.

The cash deposits were made to cover expenses for the electoral protest such as the bringing of ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to the tribunal.

The PET is mandated as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the president-elect and the vice-president-elect. It is composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, acting as its chairman, and the other associate justices as members.

Marcos questioned the results of the 2016 polls where he lost to Robredo for the VP post by 263,473 votes.

The court unanimously junked the protest following a recount in three provinces chosen by Marcos.

CNN Philippines has reached out to the camps of Marcos and Robredo for comment.

Auditors also questioned the PET for its failure to remit over ₱415,000 in collections from filing fees from 2005 to 2021 to the Judiciary Development Fund.

The amount covers filing fees from protestants and counter protestants including former presidential candidate and actor Fernando Poe Jr. and former president, now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

COA said the bank account for filing fees has been dormant.