Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos has taken a step towards securing a recount of votes that he says wrongly cost him the vice presidential election last year.
The son of the late dictator bearing the same name lost last May’s election for vice president to Leni Robredo by about 260,000 votes.
He has contested this result ever since. In February, the Supreme Court ruled that his protest was valid, but he would have to pay for the recount.
Today (Monday, April 17) he deposited about 36 million pesos — $728,500 — to cover a recount of votes in 42 per cent of polling precincts.
“It’s good I have kind-hearted friends. They believe in my election protest because it is right, just and fair,” he said after signing a cheque. He did not elaborate on who these “kind-hearted” — and clearly very wealthy — friends were.
Vice President Robredo’s relationship with President Duterte has never been close and has become increasingly strained.
She has been critical of some of his policies, including his war on drugs, and delivered a video message to a UN human rights conference last month — an act that led some Duterte supporters to demand her impeachment.
She also opposed the belated burial of the late dictator Marcos at the national heroes’ cemetery.
Last year, Duterte instructed aides to tell Robredo to stop attending his cabinet meetings, prompting her to resign as housing minister, although she remained vice president.
Many political analysts believe that Duterte wanted Marcos as his vice president — presidents and vice presidents are elected separately in the Philippines — but he has denied trying to oust Robredo.
Marcos now has until July 14 to pay another 30 million pesos to recount votes in a further 39,000 polling precincts nationwide.
He claims that vote-counting machines were manipulated to favour Robredo. She has denied these allegations and challenged his protest in the high court.
Duterte’s father, a former governor in Mindanao province, served under the elder Marcos when he was first elected president in 1965.
Marcos was ousted in the ‘people power’ protests of 1986 and died in Hawaii in 1989. His widow, Imelda, sits in the House of Representatives.