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Fact check: No decision yet on disqualification petitions vs Marcos

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Fact check: No decision yet on disqualification petitions vs Marcos
Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats claimed on its social media accounts that the disqualification case against Marcos has been junked. This is false.
Philstar.com screenshot / Lakas-CMD

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has yet to come out with a decision on the disqualification petitions against presidential aspirant and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., contrary to claims made by a political party on social media.

CLAIM: Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats claimed on its social media accounts that the disqualification case against Marcos has been junked.

RATING: This is false.

FACTS:

What the posts said

Lakas-CMD posted on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday night an art card that says the Comelec has dismissed the disqualification case against Marcos.

“The Comelec ruled that Marcos is eligible to run for the president since he is not perpetually disqualified to seek elective office and did not commit any misrepresentation in the filing of his certificate of candidacy,” the art card read.

The graphic includes a page from a Comelec resolution signed by Commissioners Socorro Inting, Antonio Kho and Rey Bulay stating that “the instant petition is hereby denied for lack of merit.”

What the posts left out

The Comelec’s First Division was expected to come out on Monday with a decision on the three consolidated disqualification petitions against Marcos, namely the petitions filed by Martial Law victims, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party and self-proclaimed Partido Federal ng Pilipinas chairperson Abubakar Mangelen.

The decision, however, was not released as several staff of the poll body contracted COVID-19 and the commissioner assigned to write the decision came in close contact with an infected staff member.

What came out on Monday was the decision of the Comelec’s Second Division to dismiss the petition of Martial Law victims to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy on the ground of material misrepresentation, or that he falsely claimed in the said document that he has never been found liable for any offense which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

Petitioners asserted that Marcos cannot run for public office as he was convicted of failing to file income tax returns for four years, which they said carries the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding any public office, to vote and to participate in any election.

The Comelec’s Second Division rejected this, saying that Marcos’ conviction for failing to file ITRs from 1982 to 1984 did not render him perpetually disqualified for public office as this penalty was only imposed by Presidential Decree No. 1994 which took effect on Jan. 1, 1986.

For 1985, the mandatory filing fell on March 18, 1986, but Marcos was no longer a public officer by that time, the Second Division said.

Essential context

Cancellation and disqualification petitions both seek to stop candidates from running for public office or void all votes for them, but the grounds for these legal challenges differ.

Cancellation petitions urge the Comelec to cancel or deny a political aspirant’s COC on the ground that they made a false material representation in the document, while disqualification petitions argue that an aspirant cannot be a candidate or proclaimed a winner due to an election offense or conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.

Should a cancellation petition prosper, an aspirant cannot be substituted by another person, but they can be substituted by someone with the same surname up to midday of Election Day should a disqualification petition against them prosper.

EXPLAINER: Mga pwedeng mangyari kung Marcos ma-disqualify sa 2022 elections

Two different divisions of the Comelec are also handling the different cancellation and disqualification petitions against Marcos. 

The Second Division, made up of Inting, Kho and Bulay, handled the lone cancellation petition against him. The First Division, composed of Commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio, are handling the consolidated disqualification petitions against Marcos.

VERA Files, a third-party fact-checking partner of Meta (formerly Facebook), noted that Marcos was the top beneficiary of election-related disinformation last year, with 52 of the 336 viral posts it debunked either promoting Marcos, distorting facts about his family’s ill-gotten wealth cases, and the atrocities committed under his father’s regime.

Why did we fact-check it?

Lakas-CMD is a major party supporting Marcos’ presidential candidacy. It is also the party of his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

As of writing, the Lakas-CMD’s Facebook post has garnered 931 reactions, 81 comments, and 144 shares. Meanwhile, its Twitter post has gained 10 replies, 22 retweets and 49 likes.

Similar claims that have gained a total of 43,531 interactions have also surfaced on Facebook, according to Meta’s social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

— reviewed by Kristine Joy Patag and Franco Luna 

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This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here.

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]

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