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Comelec gives Marcos more time to answer petitions to cancel COC

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Bongbong Marcos
Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand, is seen in this photo posted Nov. 11, 2021 from his campaign
Marcos campaign

MANILA, Philippines (Update 3; 4:07 p.m.) — The Commission on Elections' Second Division has granted presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. an extension on a deadline to answer a petition questioning his eligibility to run for president, a decision that his campaign claimed earlier Thursday even while the matter was still pending before commissioners.

Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez made the disclosure Thursday afternoon, hours after refuting a claim by Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez that the extension had been granted as early as Wednesday.

"Getting word that COMELEC [Second Division] just now issued an extension in the cancellation case against former Senator Marcos. Five days. But since the fifth day falls on a Sunday, [the] last day is actually [November 22]," he said on Twitter.

He earlier said that he was not privy to deliberations by the division but stressed that no decision had been promulgated as of past noon on Thursday.

Rodriguez claimed on CNN Philippines that the Comelec had already granted the former senator an extension of "seven days from yesterday (Wednesday)."

Theodore Te, the lead counsel for civic groups who filed the petition, said in an update posted Thursday that Marcos neither submitted his answer to the Commission on Elections nor was his motion to extend the November 16 deadline for it granted.

The 50-page petition, which five civic leaders filed on November 2, argued that Marcos' certificate of candidacy for president filed last month contains "multiple false material representations." They cited a 1995 ruling finding Marcos guilty of failure to file his Income Tax Returns from 1982 to 1985 and fined.

After calling the petition a "predictable nuisance," Marcos acknowledged receipt of the Comelec's summons on November 11. The summons gave him an "inextendible period" of five days to submit his answer to the plea.

On November 15, a day before the deadline, Marcos filed a motion to extend the period, which petitioners opposed on November 17. They requested the Comelec to "observe its own rules" and the "mandatory and peremptory character" of "inextendible periods."

"Petitioners reminded the Comelec that the consequence of granting respondent's motion for more time would be for the Comelec to flout its own rules, which the Supreme Court had already ruled in previous instances as a grave abuse of discretion," Te wrote.

What's next

Citing Sec. 4(6) of Rule 23 under the election agency's rules of procedure, Te argued that Marcos' "non-compliance" with the Comelec's summons should no longer allow him to submit "controverting evidence" or to file a memorandum in support of his candidacy.

Rodriguez argued on Wednesday that the Comelec has no authority over the petitions for disqualification.

2022 ELECTIONS BONGBONG MARCOS CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY
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