Legal battle on Marcos COC continues as petitioners move for reconsideration

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An activist holds a placard outside the elections office to call for an electoral disqualification of the late dictator's son Ferdinand
FILE PHOTO: An activist holds a placard outside the elections office to call for an electoral disqualification of the late dictator's son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who is running for the presidency in the 2022 national elections, in Manila, Philippines, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Petitioners calling for the dismissal of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s Certificate of Candidacy (COC) will continue their legal battle in the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc after their petition was denied by the 2nd division Monday (January 17).

The petition is spearheaded by Fr. Christian Buanafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lacsano.

“Our lawyers led by Atty. Theodore Te are now seeking reconsideration of the resolution with the Comelec En Banc,” Fides Lim of political prisoner advocacy group KAPATID said.

Lim mentioned how the COMELEC decision to deny their petition was counterintuitive.

“Very strange and contradictory that the Comelec Second Division opted to deny our petition yet agreed that the ‘representations’ made in Item 11 of Box 22 of the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Marcos Jr. are ‘material.’” Lim said.

Lim was conflicted by how the 2nd division defined “material”, referring to Marcos’ “material representation” when he declared eligibility in running for president.

“What gives? Why disagree that such were 'false' when the meaning of 'material,' whether noun or adjective, is plain and true for all to see unless the Second Division has another dictionary.” the petitioner said. “‘Meaning of ‘material’ as a noun: Matter, substance. Meaning of ‘material’ as an adjective: Physical, significant.”

“The material fact is, as our petition plainly stated, the COC of Marcos Jr. should be canceled because he falsely declared under oath in paragraph 11 under Box 22 of his COC dated Oct. 6, 2021, that he was ‘eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.’” Lim said.

The petitioner elaborated how Marcos’ material representation is “clearly false”, taking into account his conviction for failing to pay his taxes.

“This material representation is clearly ‘false’ because he was convicted by final judgment by both the Regional Trial Court and Court of Appeals for failure to pay and file income tax returns for the years 1982, 1983 and 1984 when he served as vice-governor and governor of Ilocos Norte,” she said.

She emphasized how crucial the petitions were, and how the Philippines cannot have a “liar, cheat, and convicted tax evader” for president.

“These court judgments make him ineligible to hold any public office, least of all the highest office of the land. We cannot have a liar, cheat and convicted tax evader making fools of us all as he claws his way to the presidency while lying through his teeth.”

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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