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Marcos son takes step towards recount of Philippine VP vote

MANILA (Reuters) - The son of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Monday took a step towards securing a recount of votes in an election for vice president last year in which he says he was unfairly robbed of victory.

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The son, also called Ferdinand Marcos but popularly known as Bongbong, lost the election for vice president last May to social activist and lawyer Leni Robredo by about 260,000 votes.

He has objected to the result ever since and the Supreme Court ruled in February that his protest was valid, but he has to pay for a recount of the votes.

On Monday, he deposited about 36 million pesos ($728,500) as payment for a recount of votes in 42 percent of polling precincts.

“It’s good I have kind-hearted friends. They believe in my election protest because it is right, just and fair,” Marcos told reporters after signing a check.

He did not elaborate on his friends.

Robredo’s relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte is far from close and he has frequently made jokes in public at her expense.

She has been critical of some of his policies, including his deadly war on drugs, and delivered a video message to a U.N. human rights conference in Geneva last month.

She also opposed the burial of the late dictator Marcos at a heroes’ cemetery.

Last year, Duterte instructed aides to tell Robredo to cease attending his Cabinet meetings, prompting her to resign as housing minister, though she remained vice president.

Rumours have swirled that Duterte favours Marcos but Duterte has denied he is trying to oust Robredo. Presidents and vice presidents are elected separately in the Philippines.

Marcos has until July 14 to pay another 30 million pesos to complete recounting votes in more than 39,000 polling precincts nationwide.

He said vote-counting machines were manipulated to favour of Robredo. She has challenged his protest in the high court saying he had not specifically said where the supposed irregularities took place.

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 protests in 1986 and died in Hawaii in 1989.

Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel