Finally at SC: Petitioners bring fight vs Marcos' candidacy to highest court

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Finally at SC: Petitioners bring fight vs Marcos' candidacy to highest court
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr greets 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 10:32 a.m.) — The fight against the candidacy of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., now presumptive president-elect, has reached the country’s highest court.

After losing at the Commission on Elections, petitioners led by their counsel Theodore Te ran to the Supreme Court to ask it to “cancel and declare void ab initio the Certificate of Candidacy for President” filed by Marcos.

They also asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin both Chambers of the Congress from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos and proclaim him — set on May 23 — pending the resolution of their petition.

Petitioners ask the SC to annual and set aside the May 10 Resolution of the Comelec en Banc that junked their appeal to cancel Marcos’ COC, and the Jan. 17, 2022 resolution of the Second Division that dismissed their plea.

“This Petition prays for the invalidation and reversal of the Questioned Comelec Resolutions for having been rendered in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,” their Petition for Certiorari read.

“Respondent Comelec, by refusing to Cancel or Deny Due Course the [COC] of respondent Marcos, Jr. despite his having deliberately made false material representations on two material items, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,” they added.

Like other legal challenges filed against Marcos’ candidacy, the Buenafe petition is also anchored on the presumptive president-elect’s conviction for non-failure of Income Tax Return for four years.

For their case, the petitioners accused Marcos of “misrepresentations pertaining to his eligibility due to his prior convictions under the 1977 [National Internal Revenue Code.”

But the petitioners also brought to SC the Marcoses’ family estate tax liability, estimated to have reached P203 billion due to surcharges and interest, as testament to Marcos Jr.’s “propensity to flour Philippine laws.” They noted that there is no showing that the Marcos heirs paid the tax due, and their team has also evaded questions by the media on the issue.

The popular vote

Part of the petitioners’ prayer to the SC is to declare Marcos to “have never been a candidate in the 2022 National Elections.”

“With Respondent Marcos Jr.’s Void COC, the Eligible Candidate with the Next Highest Number of Votes Should be Proclaimed,” they told the court,” they told the SC citing the case of Jalosjos.

In the cited case, Jalosjos’ COC was declared void due to ineligibility during his filing, and the cancellation retroacted to the day of filing. Part of the ruling read: 

If a certificate of candidacy void ab initio is cancelled one day or more after the elections, all votes for such candidate should also be stray votes because the certificate of candidacy is void from the very beginning.

The petitioners also cited the Velasco doctrine that explained the second placer rule. In it, the court said that when faced between provisions on material qualifications of elected officials and the will of the electorate, “we believe and so hold that we cannot chose the electorate will.”

The petitioners also cited Maquiling v. Comelec that also followed the Velasco doctrine. In this 2013 case, the SC held:

"When there are participants who turn out to be ineligible, their victory is voided and the laurel is awarded to the next in rank who does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of the qualifications set in the rules to be eligible as candidates."

The petitioners plead to the SC: “[A] candidate’s putative election victory cannot subsequently cure his ineligibility. Elections are more than just a numbers game 101 such that an election victory cannot bypass election eligibility requirements. The balance must always tilt in favor of upholding the rule of law.”

Marcos also faced petitions for disqualification at the Comelec, and their counsels have vowed to take their case all the way to the SC.

In the latest unofficial tally on Tuesday afternoon, Marcos leads with 31 million votes with outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo with 14.8 million votes at the far second.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 29, 2022 - 8:43am

Counsel for petitioners Ted Te says Marcos, a presidential aspirant, is yet to submit a verified answer to the Commission on Elections' summons about the petitions against his candidacy, seeking instead an extension for filing.

Marcos and his lawyers supposedly have until November 16 to file their answer, reports Kristine Joy Patag.

June 29, 2022 - 8:43am

Comelec Commissioner Saidamen Pangarungan says the poll body commissioners "hail the decision of the Supreme Court to finally put to rest questions on the eligibility and validity of the certificate of candidacy (COC) of President-Elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.  upholding the resolutions of the COMELEC en banc under my watch."

Pangarungan says he views the SC's ruling as "concurrence to our legal reasoning."

June 28, 2022 - 2:18pm

A source tells Philstar.com that Supreme Court justices voted 13-0 to junk the petitions challenging the candidacy of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is set to be inaugurated in two days.

We're still waiting for official confirmation from the SC Public Information Office, but with a vote of 13-0, this means two justices took no part in the voting. — Kristine Joy Patag

May 17, 2022 - 8:34am

The legal challenge against candidacy of Bongbong Marcos, presumptive president-elect, reaches the Supreme Court. 

Petitioners, led by Atty. Ted Te, seeking the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy, filed their petition on Monday.

"[A] candidate’s putative election victory cannot subsequently cure his ineligibility. Elections are more than just a numbers game such that an election victory cannot bypass election eligibility requirements," petitioners tell the high court. — Kristine Joy Patag

May 10, 2022 - 2:38pm

The camp of presidential bet Bongbong Marcos says they are "happy" to receive the news of the Comelec's decision to dismiss the disqualification cases against the latter.

"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," Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez says.

February 10, 2022 - 7:13pm

The Commission on Elections' First Division is allowing Bongbong Marcos Jr. to run for president, spokesperson James Jimenez announces in a tweet.

Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo, poll body commissioners, have dismissed the consolidated disqualification case in a 43-page decision, citing "lack of merit."

The cases challenged Marcos' candidacy, citing his conviction for failing to submit his income tax returns for several years in the 1980s.

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