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Comelec rejects plea vs grant of period extension to file answer to Marcos campaign

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Comelec rejects plea vs grant of period extension to file answer to Marcos campaign
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 — The Commission on Elections has rejected the appeal filed by the civic leaders’ group questioning the grant of extension of period to submit the answer of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on their petition to cancel his Certificate of Candidacy.

The Comelec Second Division, in a three-page order dated November 22, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners through their counsel, lawyer Theodore Te.

The Comelec division reiterated that there was justification found in the motion filed by Marcos that sought to extend the period to file Answer to November 22, from November 15.

“Verily, in the exercise of its power to suspend its rules under the provisions of Rule 1, Section 4 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, in the interest of justice and the significance of the case at hand, the Commission (Second Division) deems it proper to allow both parties to be heard,” the order signed by Comelec Commissioner Socorro Inting read.

Comelec asserts authority to suspend reglementary periods in the interest of justice

In the motion for reconsideration, the petitioners asked the Comelec to recall its order that granted Marcos’ motion for extension and bar the team of the presidential aspirant from submitting evidence and memorandum “pursuant to its Rules of Procedure.”

They argued that the extension granted to Marcos is “blatantly contrary to law,” citing Section 4(6) of Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure that provides for “no ground for any extension of time.”

The Commission division, in resolving in their motion, cited Section 4, Rule 1 of the 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedure that gives them the power to suspend its rules or any portion of it.

“The Comelec therefore has authority to suspend the reglementary periods provided by the rules in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of the cases before it,” it said.

Under the said authority, the commission said it is enabled to “cope with all situations without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired.”

The Commission also stressed that a case is best decided when all parties are able to ventilate their respective claims, and present and adduce evidence to support their arguments.

The Comelec division also said the petitioners did not suffer any damage as Marcos filed his Answer on November 19 or three days before the expiration of the extension given.

Petitions vs Marcos’ bid

The first petition filed against Marcos’ presidential bid was filed on November 2. It argued that his COC contains “multiple false material representations,” citing a 1995 trial court conviction on his failure to file his Income Tax Returns for multiple years.

Another set of petitioners, professionals represented by lawyer Howard Calleja, sought to join them in their bid. Another group of Martial Law victims also filed a Petition for Disqualification against Marcos.

Two other petitions to block his presidential bid were also reportedly filed against Marcos.

Marcos is represented by Martial Law-era Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza. Their campaign branded the petitions against Marcos as a “nuisance case” that is “nothing but trash.”

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