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SC junks pleas vs Marcos Jr. candidacy, clears path to inauguration

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
SC junks pleas vs Marcos Jr. candidacy, clears path to inauguration
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr is mobbed by his supporters as he arrives at the campaign heaquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022. The son of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos on May 11 claimed victory in the presidential election, vowing to be a leader "for all Filipinos", his spokesman said.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:09 p.m.) — The Supreme Court has junked petitions challenging the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., clearing the path to his oath-taking as the 17th president of the Philippines.

The SC en banc voted 13-0 to junk one plea challenging the Commission on Elections's ruling that junked their petition against Marcos' Certificate of Candidacy and another that dismissed their disqualification case.

"The Court held that in the exercise of its power to decide the present controversy led them to no other conclusion but that respondent Marcos Jr. is qualified to run for and be elected to public office. Likewise, his COC, being valid and in accord with the pertinent law, was rightfully upheld by the Comelec," the Supreme Court Public Information Office said in a release.

No other details on how the justices agreed that Marcos’ COC is valid following the law — as upheld by the Comelec — was given in the briefer.

Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda penned the ruling, but a full copy of the decision has yet to be made public.

Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul Inting and Antonio Kho Jr. took no part in the decision. Kho was elections commissioner before he was appointed to the SC while Inting's sister Socorro is a sitting Comelec commissioner.

The SC resolved the petitions just two days before Marcos’ inauguration on June 30.

In their Comment seeking the dismissal of the pleas, Marcos' counsel 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."

Marcos’ lawyers also pointed out that the Congress proceeded to canvass the Certificates of Canvass and proclaimed him as president on May 25, after securing a historic majority vote of 31,629,783.

"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.

The petitions

The Buenafe petition, filed by civic leaders represented by Theodore Te, sought the cancellation of Marcos’ COC, accusing him of "misrepresentations pertaining to his eligibility due to his prior convictions under the 1977 [National Internal Revenue Code]."

Meanwhile, Martial Law victims led by Bonifacio Ilagan wanted Marcos disqualified as a candidate. The Ilagan petition also cited the conviction of Marcos on the non-filing of Income Tax Returns for four years. Among the grounds they cited is that Marcos was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude which should result in his disqualification.

They lost at the Comelec division and later at the commission en banc, prompting them to run to the Supreme Court for relief.

The Ilagan petition argued that "Comelec (En Banc) acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it issued its Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration and affirming the Comelec (Former First Division) Resolution."

With the dismissal of their pleas, Marcos’ path to the Malacañang — to be formalized on Thursday — has been cleared of legal challenges.

The petitioners can still file a motion for reconsideration, within 15 days of receipt of the ruling, but swaying a unanimous court is going to be a challenge.

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