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Marcos team seeks dismissal of petition to cancel COC pending before SC

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Marcos team seeks dismissal of petition to cancel COC pending before SC
Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.(C) is proclaimed by Senate President Vicente Sotto (L) and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco as duly-elected president at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, suburban Manila on May 25, 2022.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The lawyers of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court to junk the petition seeking the cancellation of his Certificate of Candidacy as they urged the tribunal to “protect” the choice of the Filipino people.

In a 45-page comment made public on Wednesday, Marcos, through his lawyers led by veteran litigator Estelito Mendoza, sought the dismissal of the Petition of Certiorari filed by the civic leaders, through their counsel Theodore Te.

The civic leaders failed to secure a favorable ruling at the Commission on Elections, prompting them to elevate their case to the SC.

In their comment on the plea, Marcos’ team said: “It is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court to protect the free choice of the Sovereign Filipino People that their President is respondent Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and to dismiss the instant Petition for Certiorari dated May 16, 2022 for lack of jurisdiction and/or complete of merit.”

This was in compliance with the order of the SC, on May 19, to comment on the petition that also sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order to restrain the Congress from canvassing and proclaiming Marcos as president.

The order however was given a few days before the Congress convened and, on May 25, proclaimed Marcos as president-elect.

Lack of jurisdiction

“The ‘petition’ must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. At this point, it is only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal which may inquire into the eligibility of [Marcos],” the lawyers said.

While the 2010 PET Rules hold that the Tribunal “shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the President or Vice-President of the Philippines,” it also said that an election protest may be filed within 30 days after the proclamation of the winner.

The plea of the group led by Christian Buenafe, which assails the Comelec’s resolution that junked their petition, was filed on May 17, when Marcos was yet to be elected, although was leading in unofficial tally.

Under the Rules of Court, a petition for certiorari may be filed when “any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial and quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting ti lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

The Buenafe petition read: “Respondent Comelec, by refusing to Cancel or Deny Due Course the [COC] of respondent Marcos, Jr. despite his having deliberately made false material representations on two material items, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

Marcos already proclaimed

Marcos’ lawyers also pointed out that the Congress proceeded to canvass the Certificates of Canvass and proclaimed him as president.

“In light of the above, the Supreme Court has lost jurisdiction over the instant case. Any issue as to the qualifications of respondent Marcos Jr. falls within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal as provided in the Constitution,” they argued.

Part of the petitioners’ prayer to the SC is to declare Marcos to “have never been a candidate in the 2022 National Elections.” They argued that with his COC voided, the eligible candidate with the next highest number of vote should be proclaimed.

The Buenafe petition also cited cited the Velasco doctrine that explained the second placer rule. In it, the court said that when faced between provisions on material qualifications of elected officials and the will of the electorate, “we believe and so hold that we cannot chose the electorate will.”

But Marcos’ lawyers argued that “the President of the Philippines is chosen by the direct vote of each and every enfranchised Filipino citizen.”

“Thus, the instant ‘Petition’ with prayer to declare [Marcos] ‘to have never become a candidate’ and for ‘the eligible candidate with the next highest number of votes to be proclaimed’ DEFILES THES SOVEREIGN WILL OF THE PEOPLE,” they continued.

Marcos’ lawyers also pointed that his votes were double those of Robredo’s. “[T]he voice of the Filipino electorate is true and clear that they do not only find grounds to disqualify BBM, but they want him to be the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” their comment further read.

Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed Marcos as the 17th president of the Philippines on May 25, after securing a historic majority vote of 31,629,783.

2022 ELECTIONS

BONGBONG MARCOS

SUPREME COURT

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 29, 2022 - 8:43am

Counsel for petitioners Ted Te says Marcos, a presidential aspirant, is yet to submit a verified answer to the Commission on Elections' summons about the petitions against his candidacy, seeking instead an extension for filing.

Marcos and his lawyers supposedly have until November 16 to file their answer, reports Kristine Joy Patag.

June 29, 2022 - 8:43am

Comelec Commissioner Saidamen Pangarungan says the poll body commissioners "hail the decision of the Supreme Court to finally put to rest questions on the eligibility and validity of the certificate of candidacy (COC) of President-Elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.  upholding the resolutions of the COMELEC en banc under my watch."

Pangarungan says he views the SC's ruling as "concurrence to our legal reasoning."

June 28, 2022 - 2:18pm

A source tells Philstar.com that Supreme Court justices voted 13-0 to junk the petitions challenging the candidacy of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is set to be inaugurated in two days.

We're still waiting for official confirmation from the SC Public Information Office, but with a vote of 13-0, this means two justices took no part in the voting. — Kristine Joy Patag

May 17, 2022 - 8:34am

The legal challenge against candidacy of Bongbong Marcos, presumptive president-elect, reaches the Supreme Court. 

Petitioners, led by Atty. Ted Te, seeking the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy, filed their petition on Monday.

"[A] candidate’s putative election victory cannot subsequently cure his ineligibility. Elections are more than just a numbers game such that an election victory cannot bypass election eligibility requirements," petitioners tell the high court. — Kristine Joy Patag

May 10, 2022 - 2:38pm

The camp of presidential bet Bongbong Marcos says they are "happy" to receive the news of the Comelec's decision to dismiss the disqualification cases against the latter.

"The unanimous En Banc decision has proven, once and for all, that no amount of undue political pressure can weaken the resolve of the honorable Commission to be on the side of truth and justice," Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez says.

February 10, 2022 - 7:13pm

The Commission on Elections' First Division is allowing Bongbong Marcos Jr. to run for president, spokesperson James Jimenez announces in a tweet.

Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo, poll body commissioners, have dismissed the consolidated disqualification case in a 43-page decision, citing "lack of merit."

The cases challenged Marcos' candidacy, citing his conviction for failing to submit his income tax returns for several years in the 1980s.

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