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Comelec throws out DQ appeals vs BBM

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Comelec throws out DQ appeals vs BBM
In a 15-page resolution, the Comelec en banc unanimously voted to uphold the commission’s earlier rulings.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc yesterday affirmed the dismissal of the disqualification cases filed against presidential frontrunner former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. due to his tax conviction.

In a 15-page resolution, the Comelec en banc unanimously voted to uphold the commission’s earlier rulings.

The poll body issued the resolution a day after the elections, which showed Marcos winning the presidency by a landslide.

Comelec commissioners denied the consolidated motions for reconsideration, saying the petitioners failed to raise new arguments that would reverse an earlier ruling of the First Division dismissing the disqualification cases.

“A careful review of the motions for reconsideration showed that they failed to raise new matters that would warrant the reversal of the assailed resolution,” the resolution read.

The Comelec said the petitioners’ appeal was “merely a rehash” of their assertions and arguments on the disqualification complaints filed against Marcos.

“Therefore, there is no basis for herein petitioners to insist that the respondent be perpetually disqualified from running for public office,” the resolution read.

The resolution was signed by Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan along with Commissioners Socorro Inting, Aimee Ferolino, Rey Bulay, Aimee Torrefranca-Neri and Marlon Casquejo.

Commissioner George Garcia, who lawyered for Marcos before entering the poll body, also signed the resolution, but noted that he had “no part” in the decision-making as he previously inhibited himself from the case.

The Comelec First Division dismissed on Feb. 10 the two sets of disqualification cases filed against Marcos by the Akbayan Citizens’ Action party and the groups of Abubakar Mangelen and Bonifacio Ilagan for his failure to file his income tax returns when he was vice governor and governor of Ilocos Norte.

The groups filed the motions for reconsiderations last February, prompting the poll body to consolidate the appeals.

The Comelec also affirmed the Second Division’s ruling dismissing the motion for partial reconsideration filed on Jan. 20 by the group of Fr. Christian Buenafe, who sought Marcos’ disqualification from the presidential race.

‘Not final, executory’

The Comelec clarified that the ruling affirming the decision of the commissions’ divisions to junk the disqualification cases filed against Marcos is not yet final and executory.

Comelec’s clerk of court Director Genesis Gatdula said the poll body’s decision becomes final and executory five days upon receipt of the copies of the ruling by the petitioners and as long as there is no court order stopping the commission from implementing it.

Gatdula added the petitioners can still make one last appeal by filing a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court (SC) within 30 days or from the time the case was promulgated and once the decision becomes final on the level of the Comelec as stated under Section 64 of the Rules of Court.

Gatdula said the disqualification cases against Marcos would be under the jurisdiction of the SC if he “has been proclaimed president and assumed office.”

Pending appeals

Asked if there are other pending motions for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc, Gatdula said the poll body has yet to decide on the appeal filed by the group of Margarita Salonga Salandanan, also known as “Pudno Nga Ilokano.”

The Comelec First Division had denied the disqualification case filed by Salandanan against Marcos for lack of merit.

A motion for reconsideration on the dismissed petition declaring Marcos as a nuisance candidate filed by Danilo Lihaylihay is alo pending before the poll body.

Dismissal of DQ cases welcomed

The camp of Marcos welcomed yesterday the Comelec decision dismissing with finality the disqualification cases filed against him.
Vic Rodriguez, spokesman for Marcos, said the development was expected as he stood firm in their belief that the cases were “unmeritorious and politically-motivated.”
“We have always believed that the poll body will stay true to its mandate to deliver fair, honest and credible elections, including the dismissal of unmeritorious and politically-motivated petitions such as these,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“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,” he added. — Edu Punay

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