The Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the very first case filed against the presidential bid of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying that the petitioner failed to prove that the late dictator’s son is a nuisance candidate.
There was little expectation that the case filed in October by presidential aspirant Danilo Lihaylihay – who was declared by the Comelec a nuisance candidate in 2016 – would prosper, and it was only one of the many petitions seeking to block Marcos’ attempt at the presidency.
“Respondent (Marcos) does not fall under any of the three types of nuisance candidates. Hence, the instant petition must be denied,” the Comelec’s 2nd Division said in its ruling dated December 16.
There are three instances where an aspirant for public office may be considered a nuisance candidate:
- They intend to put the election process in mockery or disrepute.
- They seek to cause confusion among voters by the similarity of their names.
- They have no genuine intention to run for office.
Lihaylihay’s petition had claimed that Marcos seeks to put the election process in mockery or disrepute “because his purpose was mainly to have his family’s political comeback in Malacañang,” but the poll body dismissed this as “sweeping statements” and “unfounded claims.”
“No inference can possibly be made that respondent’s act of filing his COC for president puts the election process in mockery or disrepute,” Comelec’s 2nd Division said.
The Comelec also said that Marcos has “sufficiently established” that he has a bona fide intention to run for president, citing the past elective posts he held, the political party that will carry his 2022 bid, and his front runner status in pre-election surveys.
The poll body also “noted with disdain” Lihaylihay’s failure to attach a copy of Marcos’ certificate of candidacy in his petition that seeks to deny due course to the former senator’s COC for president.
“How could we cancel something which is not found in the records of this case? To put it bluntly, petitioner’s evidence is grossly insufficient considering that the COC it sought to cancel was not even attached to the petition,” presiding Commissioner Socorro Inting wrote.
Lihaylihay has a curious background. In the past, he made unsuccessful attempts in courts to compel the government to pay him for his supposed efforts to recover the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth.
Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said on Saturday, December 18, that “the dismissal of the case is expected as this is among the multiple nuisance petitions filed.” against presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos.
“We have always maintained that there exist no legal basis to cancel the certificate of candidacy nor disqualify Uniteam presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Not yet over for Marcos
Despite the Comelec’s decision on the Lihaylihay case, the legal challenges against Marcos’ 2022 run are far from over.
There are still at least six unresolved petitions with the poll body – two of them petitions to cancel his COC, and four disqualification cases.
The petition filed by civic leaders, whose lawyer is former Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te, is expected to be resolved soon, after the Comelec ordered both parties in the case to submit the final documents needed before the case is deemed for resolution. – Rappler.com