The Commission on Elections (Comelec) 2nd Division is handling three of the five petitions seeking to block the presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In a phone call with Rappler on Wednesday, November 24, the Office of the Clerk of the Commission confirmed that two more cases have been raffled to the Comelec 2nd Division, on top of the November 2 petition to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by civic leaders represented by lawyer Ted Te.
These legal challenges are:
- petition to declare Marcos a nuisance candidate, filed by presidential aspirant Danilo Lihaylihay on October 11
- petition to cancel Marcos’ COC, filed by presidential aspirant Tiburcio Marcos on November 3
The Comelec has yet to resolve the motion for intervention filed by 10 individuals to the poll body so they can join the November 2 petition of Te’s group.
The disqualification case filed by Martial Law victims on November 17 has yet to be raffled, the Office of the Clerk of the Commission also confirmed.
Why does this matter?
It was the Comelec’s 2nd Division that granted the Marcos camp’s request for an extension of time to reply to the Te group’s petition, even though the Comelec rules of procedure state that the deadline is “non-extendible.”
In granting the extension, the Division had said that it found “justification” in the Marcos camp’s request. The respondent said his new lawyer Estelito Mendoza was hired just a day before the November 16 deadline and therefore needed more time to review the petition.
Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez had said in the morning of November 18 that their motion for extension was already approved a day before, even though Comelec spokesman James Jimenez had insisted that no resolution had been promulgated at the time.
This prompted Te’s group to urge the poll body to conduct a probe into how the Marcos camp appeared to have “insider knowledge of the Commission’s actions.”
“[S]tatements like those of respondent’s spokesperson that suggest an undue, intimate, insider familiarity with the Commission cast a long shadow over the Commission’s credibility,” the petitioners argued.
Commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho Jr., both appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte, comprise the Comelec 2nd Division. Kho is Duterte’s fraternity brother who has applied for Supreme Court vacancy, while Inting is a Davao City native with over 20 years of experience in the judiciary prior to her Comelec appointment.
The Comelec 2nd Division will hold a preliminary conference on the petition of Te’s group on Friday, November 26.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in early November that the Comelec may resolve the bid to bar Marcos from joining the 2022 elections by December. – Rappler.com