“We thus ask the High Court to reverse and set aside the questionable Comelec ruling and to cancel and declare void from the start the certificate of candidacy of Marcos Jr. and in the process, declare him to have never been a candidate in the 2022 national elections.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Petitioners seeking the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are now asking the Supreme Court to halt the canvassing of his votes and proclamation as they filed a petition for certiorari on Monday, May 16.
This after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) junked the four separate motions to reverse its previous rulings to disqualify Marcos Jr. from running for the presidency.
“Our petition is straightforward,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid.
“Time is of the essence as Congress is due to convene as a national canvassing body on May 23. We ask the Supreme Court: Give due course now to our petition to avoid proclaiming someone who was never a valid candidate from the start due to false material representation about the plain fact of his prior criminal conviction for violating the National Internal Revenue Code. This carries with it the penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office but which the Comelec brushed aside,” she added.
Lim was one of the petitioners who called for the cancellation of Marcos Jr. ‘s certificate of candidacy in Comelec.
The petitioners also included Fr. Christian Buenafe, O.Carm., Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal and Josephine Lascano.
Lim said the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
“We thus ask the High Court to reverse and set aside the questionable Comelec ruling and to cancel and declare void from the start the certificate of candidacy of Marcos Jr. and in the process, declare him to have never been a candidate in the 2022 national elections,” she said.
The Congress is set to proclaim the winners of this year’s election on May 23. Although Marcos Jr. is poised to win, the petitioners said that “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.”
They asserted that Marcos Jr. is not eligible to run for the national elections after he violated the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) by not paying estate taxes, currently estimated at P203 billion from its original base of P23 billion.
Marcos Jr. was convicted by a Quezon City court in 1995 for violating the NIRC and was sentenced to a three-year imprisonment and a fine. This conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals who lowered his sentence by removing the penalty of imprisonment. The fine, however, remained and has yet to be paid.
The Supreme Court’s third division also issued a resolution on March 9, 1999 declaring the entry of judgment of the Marcos’ estate tax assessment case as final and executory.
Marcos Jr.’s conviction for violating the NIRC perpetually disqualifies him from holding any public office, voting, and participating in any election.
The petitioners said that considering Marcos Jr.’s ineligibility arising from his conviction and Comelec’s evasion of its duty to cancel his certificate of candidacy, “there is need to enjoin Congress of the Philippines from canvassing the votes cast in favor of respondent Marcos Jr. and, in the event that the votes cast constitute a majority, proclaiming him as the duly-elected President of the Republic of the Philippines.”
“A temporary restraining order from this court is the only remedy available to enjoin and restrain the Congress of the Philippines from rendering this petition moot and, in the event this court rules in favor of the petitioners, allowing a candidacy that should never have been to ripen into a presidency of an ineligible candidate,” the petition read.
Lim asserted that “Marcos Jr. lied when he filed his certificate of candidacy despite knowing the fact of his conviction and its repercussions.”
“If the Supreme Court were to allow such a brazen lie to trump the rule of law, all substantive eligibility requirements in all future elections can be circumvented by ineligible candidates who happen to secure a victory. The will of the people, as it has been expressed through law, will be silenced in perpetuity,” the petition read. (RTS, JJE)