Thu. May 26th, 2022

Nearly 90 petitions seeking the cancellation or denial of due course of the certificate of candidacy (COC) have so far been filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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According to the Comelec data, two of the 89 petitions have been filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by Fr. Christian Buenafe and Tiburcio Villamor Marcos.

Other petitions call for the cancellation of COCs for senator, representative, governor, vice-governor, sangguniang bayan, mayor, vice mayor.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he is qualified to run for president in the upcoming 2022 elections.

This was contained in a five-page answer to the summons issued by the Comelec in connection with the petition seeking to cancel his COC.

Atty. Estelito Mendoza, Marcos’ counsel, sought the petition be outrightly dismissed and that the same be heard by face-to-face argument instead of a virtual or video conference.

“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the petition be dismissed. On the matter of hearing the petition, considering that the petition refers to the highest elective position in government and calls for the participation of the people in general, [it is respectfully prayed] that the petition be heard by face-to-face argument instead of a virtual or video conference,” Marcos’ plea read.

The petitioners claimed that Marcos cannot run for public office as he was convicted by a Quezon City court for his multiple failures to file his income tax return (ITR) from 1982 to 1985.

They argued that Marcos’ conviction perpetually disqualified him from seeking any public office as the same involves moral turpitude.

But Marcos’ camp, thru Mendoza, countered this by saying that the petition will show that it is “bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.”

Taking into account the qualifications of the various elective positions he has been elected to and occupied as enumerated, he said, “it is of judicial notice that the respondent [Marcos] has all the qualifications of a President under Section 2, Article VII of the Constitution and consequently there can be no violation of Section 78 in relation of Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code upon which a petition such as the one now before the commission.”

On the same basis alone, Mendoza said, the petition merits outright dismissal.

Mendoza added that Marcos did not commit a crime involving moral turpitude.

“[What] is clear and certainly beyond dispute is that the [Court of Appeals] CA decision does not, and no inference can be made from its decision that [Marcos], BBM in this case, has been found by the CA of committing a crime involving moral turpitude,” he said.

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