President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition filed by civic leaders seeking to cancel his certificate of candidacy, saying it has no jurisdiction to hear the case, apart from the fact that the petition has no basis.
In a comment dated May 31, Marcos through lawyer Estelito Mendoza argued it is only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that has jurisdiction to hear cases questioning his eligibility as presidential candidate in the May 9 national elections.“The Honorable Court is without jurisdiction to issue the temporary restraining order and or enjoin and restrain Congress from canvassing the votes cast for BBM (Marcos). In addition, the request for a temporary restraining order has become moot,” his comment stressed.
Marcos also asked the High Court to dismiss the petition against him for lack of merit, since he did not commit any material misrepresentation in his Certificate of Candidacy (COC), contrary to the claim of the petitioners.
“The decision of the Comelec Second Division and the Comelec En Banc on the absence of any false material misrepresentation in the COC is a finding of fact that is entitled to great weight and must be accorded full respect. The Comelec correctly ruled that the petition for cancellation was subject to summary dismissal,” Marcos said.
The President-elect asserted he is not disqualified to run for the presidency and that he has no intention to mislead, misinform and deceive the electorate.
“None of the grounds alleged by petitioners is material. BBM did not commit any false representation in his COC because the penalty of absolute perpetual disqualification was never imposed on him,” he said.
He added that Section 252 of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, is not ipso facto imposed upon the mere fact of conviction.
Marcos argued that the petitioners’ claim that his status as a public officer at the time of the commission of the offense “is a conclusive and incontrovertible fact” is bereft of basis.
Court records showed that Marcos was convicted in July 1995 by Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Branch 105, for failure to file income tax returns and pay income taxes from 1982 to 1985.
The court sentenced him to serve a total of seven years in prison and to pay a fine for violation of the National Internal Revenue Code.
Upon appeal of the case to the Court of Appeals, the appellate court ruled in 1997 to uphold the conviction, but modified the penalty imposed by the RTC, removing the prison term and merely imposing a fine.
Lastly, Marcos said the petition “defiles the sovereign will of the Filipino people.”
“To allow the defeated and rejected candidate to take over is to disenfranchise the citizens representing 58.77 percent of the votes cast, without fault on their part,” Marcos emphasized.
“If all of these do not yet suffice, BBM’s vote of 31,629,783, is more than twice as many as the vote of Leni Robredo with 15,035,773 votes, the voice of the Filipino electorate is true and clear that they do not find grounds to disqualify BBM, but they want him to be the president of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
The petitioners—Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano—asked the SC on May 17 to issue a TRO.
They wanted the High Court to “enjoin and restrain” both houses of Congress from canvassing the votes of Marcos and proclaiming him as president.”
They also assailed the January 17 and May 10 resolutions of the Commission on Elections dismissing for lack of merit their plea seeking the denial or cancellation of the COC of Marcos and their motion for reconsideration.
Meanwhile, a group of martial law survivors led by Satur Ocampo and Bonifacio Ilagan also asked the SC to overturn the Comelec decision junking their disqualification case against Marcos.
The SC has yet to act on their plea.
Meanwhile, Marcos Jr.’s inauguration on June 30 will be held either in the Ilocos Region or in Manila, the acting head of the Philippine National Police said Wednesday.
“As for Sir Bongbong, I think it will be either in Ilocos or here in the area of Manila, so we are still finalizing the exact location so we can lay out our security measures,” PNP officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Vicente Danao Jr. said in Filipino in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB.
The President-elect said that since the proclamation of the winning presidential and vice candidates is over, only the SC, sitting as the PET, is the sole judge of all contests relating to the qualifications of a president.
Marcos’ sister, Senator Imee Marcos, on Sunday said her brother is considering outdoor historical sites like the Quirino Grandstand, Fort Santiago, and the National Museum for his inauguration.
“What we want is for it to be held outdoors because we don’t want to expose people to COVID-19 as there seems to be an uptick in infections,” she said in Filipino.