MANILA, Philippines – A group of supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo is asking the Supreme Court (SC) to allow them to pay a portion of her P7-million balance for the election protest she is facing.
This was manifested by 6 women in their petition for intervention filed last June 27 before the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
The petitioners – all awardees of the Ten Outstanding Women (TOWNS) Foundation – 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, Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco, and Museong Pambata founder Nina Lim-Yuson.
Pro-bono lawyer Pinky Bernabe, the group's legal counsel, said the petition is a test case that is anchored on the constitutional right to suffrage.
"Included in the right to suffrage is to have the right that the outcome of the elections is protected and we are petitioning the SC to give us this right," said Bernabe in a news briefing on Tuesday, July 4.
"Our interest here is not just to give Leni, the VP, our help, but the theory of our case is we want to protect our votes," she added.
Robredo is due to pay the second installment of the protest fee, which the PET required, on July 14. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
The Vice President was ordered to pay P15 million for the 31,278 established precincts she is contesting in her counter-protest to former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr's election case against her. Robredo settled the first half of P8 million last May 2.
In order to help out Robredo, the group recently initiated an online fundraising campaign called "Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni."
A similar hashtag earlier floated when Robredo said last year that she was worried about the expenses that would come with the election case.
The petitioners said that in two weeks, they were able to raise as much as P401,878.
"How do you fight a billionaire?" Sicam asked. "One peso at a time."
She said they are getting pledges from P1 to as much as P10,000.
"There are many people willing to help but they don't want to be named because they are in a difficult position now. If you speak out on Facebook, trolls will attack you. They'd rather be invisible," Sicam said in Filipino.
If their petition is approved, they said they will be depositing the amount directly to the SC's account and not to Robredo's. But if their petition is junked, the funds raised will instead be donated to Robredo's anti-poverty program Angat Buhay. – Rappler.com