By Merlina Malipot
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday warned that the protest of losing candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will lead to “more expenses for taxpayers” in the upcoming 2019 elections.
Atty. Emil Marañon III, legal consultant of Robredo, said that because of Marcos’ election protest, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “needs to purchase new ballot boxes to be used in the 2019 elections.”
“Kung walang protesta si Bongbong, puwede pang gamitin ang ballot box sa 2019 elections (If Bongbong has did not file a protest, we can still use the ballot box in the 2019 elections),” Marañon said during in interview during the retrieval operations of ballot boxes from Negros Oriental. “Ngayon, buwis ng taumbayan ang maaapektuhan dahil sa protestang ito ni Marcos (Now, the people’s taxes will be affected by this Marcos protest),” he added.
Marañon also noted that the additional expenses “could have been avoided” if Marcos only accepted his loss in the 2016 elections to Robredo. “These expenses would have been unnecessary, if Bongbong Marcos has accepted the very simple fact that he lost, that he was rejected by the citizens last 2016 elections,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
It can be recalled that Marcos got a precautionary protection order (PPO) from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), where it ordered the Comelec to preserve and safeguard the integrity of all the ballot boxes and their contents, including the ballots, voter’s receipts and election returns.
Robredo’s camp noted that because of the Marcos’ protest, the Comelec – this coming Friday – is set to procure 72,519 new ballot boxes with an approved budget amounting to P173 million. “It also seeks the lifting of the PPO covering the servers [and] if not granted, it will also force Comelec to procure new servers costing the taxpayers more millions.”
Marañon reiterated that Marcos’ protest has no basis. “Alam naman nating walang basehan ito, iyong tax na binabayad ng taumbayan, mapupunta sa pagbili natin ng hindi naman kailangang bilhin (“We know that there is no basis for this, the tax paid by the people, goes to our purchases of unnecessary purchases,” he ended.