MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, January 14, imposed a three-day period for former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and petitioners to submit their memoranda or final position papers on a disqualification case against him.
As of writing, there are five unresolved petitions against Marcos Jr. at the poll body’s division level, but only the petition of Martial Law survivors from La Union, lawyered by former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod, has not been submitted for resolution.
The deadline was imposed by the poll body on Friday after counsels of Marcos and the petitioners attended a preliminary conference. The case will be considered deemed for resolution after the memoranda are submitted on Monday, January 17.
The proceeding allowed both camps to raise issues, which the other party can either admit or deny.
Ray Paolo Santiago, a co-counsel for the petitioners, told Rappler that the Marcos camp “manifested that they will be denying all proposed stipulations.”
The Monsod group’s petition had offered more or less the same arguments as previous petitions, mainly that Marcos should be disqualified from the 2022 race under Philippine laws due to his tax conviction in the 1990s.
But the Monsod group’s petition had a new argument: Marcos is not qualified as a voter, which means that he does not meet the constitutional requirement that a president should be a registered voter.
Marcos’ lawyers, in a December 28 answer filed with the Comelec, described as “manifestly preposterous and misleading” how the petitioners came up with such an argument.
Friday’s preliminary conference was also uneventful compared to the similar proceeding conducted by the 1st Division on January 7 on the three disqualification cases against Marcos assigned to the body. The 1st Division hearing saw presiding Commissioner Rowena Guanzon lose her cool after Marcos, whom she required to attend, skipped the event, supposedly due to a low-grade fever.
The 2nd Division hearing was also not livestreamed on Facebook unlike last week’s dialogue.
“We did not present to the Commissioners themselves at the 2nd Division,” Santiago added. Commissioners Antonio Kho and Socorro Inting, both Duterte appointees who hail from Mindanao, comprise the division.
The Comelec’s 2nd Division is poised to come out with a decision on a petition to cancel Marcos’ COC on an unspecified day next week.
The Comelec’s 1st Division is also expected to issue a ruling on three consolidated disqualification petitions against Marcos Jr. by Monday. – Rappler.com