Petitioners who want to move against the presidency of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. would have to wait until after the proclamation of the presumptive president before appealing to the Supreme Court, his legal counsel said Friday.
This is as Estelito Mendoza, lawyer of Marcos, said they will seek the dismissal of the petitions seeking his disqualification as presidential candidate in the recent May 9 elections when they file their comment before the High Court.
In a television interview, Mendoza was asked if any questions on candidates and even on the conduct of polls could not be elevated before the Supreme Court.
He was also asked if petitioners could seek a temporary restraining order on the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of winner for the May 9 elections.
“That will have to be done through an election protest… not at this time, but at this time, the Constitution provides step by step, what shall be done with the votes that are cast in the election,” Mendoza told CNN Philippines.
“The canvassing of votes by the Board of Canvassers of each province and each municipality, their transmittal to the president of the Senate and the president of the Senate has also time within which they shall have them open before the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session,” he added.
Mendoza on Thursday submitted a manifestation to the High Court stating that it has no jurisdiction to prevent Congress from canvassing the votes and proclaiming the winner of the May 9 presidential election.
He argued that the duly elected president and vice president must begin their term at noon on June 30 and end their term at the same time six years later, as stated under the 1987 Constitution.
In another interview on ANC, Mendoza mentioned that if the petitioners would still push through, they could also file a quo warranto before the SC.
“The petitioners will then have to decide whether to abide and stick by the petition as filed by the SC or whether the scenario has changed and then, therefore, what they should be filing is an election protest before the Supreme Court, either a quo warranto or an ordinary election protest,” he said.
According to the 2010 Rules of the Presidential Election Tribunal, the quo warranto is a verified petition for quo contesting the election of the president or vice president on the ground of ineligibility or disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines.
This may be filed by any registered voter who has voted in the election concerned within ten days after the proclamation of the winner.
In an election protest, the registered candidate for president or vice president of the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the election of the president or vice president, as the case may be, by filing a verified election protest with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within 30 days after the proclamation of the winner
But Mendoza told ANC: “This issue of disqualification was ruled upon by the Comelec division and later on, it was ruled upon by the Comelec en banc so you already have two rulings affirming the qualification of BBM (Bongbong Marcos).”
Earlier, two petitions were filed by human rights groups seeking to overturn the Comelec’s decision to dismiss the cases against Marcos Jr.
Both petitions asked the Court to stop the Senate and House of Representatives from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos Jr.
The Supreme Court has ordered Comelec, both chambers of Congress, and Marcos Jr. to comment on the first petition in 15 days upon receipt of the SC order.
In the manifestation filed by Mendoza on Thursday, Marcos Jr. urged the Court to deny the plea of the petitioners to issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin Congress, sitting as National Board of Canvassers, from canvassing the votes cast in favor of Marcos, saying the Constitution requires the canvassing to push through.
“All of the above provisions, in language and intent, are mandatory and the Supreme Court is without jurisdiction to prevent their implementation,” the manifestation said.
Also on Friday, the director for operations at the Philippine National Police (PNP), Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, said they are now readying security forces for the proclamation of Marcos Jr. and the presumptive vice president, Sara Duterte-Carpio.
De Leon also said the PNP will continue to monitor any mass gathering that may arise as the country is now transitioning to the next administration.
“It’s still the election period, and we have a lot to do. The PNP will continue its monitoring, intelligence gathering, and other police functions to ensure a seamless and peaceful transition of power on June 30,” De Leon said in a statement.
Marcos is expected to be proclaimed next week after garnering more than 31 million votes, while his nearest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, received more than 14 million votes, based on 98.35 percent of election returns from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Transparency Media Server.