2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec’s prolonged Marcos ruling prompts second follow-up from petitioners

Dwight de Leon
Comelec’s prolonged Marcos ruling prompts second follow-up from petitioners

RALLY. Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr speaks to supporters at the UEP Grandstand during the Uniteam campaign in Catarman, Northern Samar.

Niño Anthony Valenzuela/PonD News Asia

The Comelec has said cases against Marcos Jr. will have been resolved before April ends

MANILA, Philippines – A group of Martial Law survivors from La Union who petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in December to disqualify Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from the presidential race formally asked the poll body for the second time to release already its ruling on the case.

The Extremely Urgent Second Motion to Resolve submitted to the Comelec by Pudno nga Ilocano on Friday, April 8, highlights the speed of which the election body is dealing with Marcos Jr.’s long-running disqualification saga.

The Comelec, under the leadership of new chairman, Saidamen Pangarungan, has promised, however, that all pending anti-Marcos cases will have been resolved at the Comelec en banc level by end-April at the latest.

In their latest motion, petitioners asserted that the Comelec should decide on the case they filed “expediently and conscientiously, without fear or favor.”

“This undue delay in resolving the instant case despite the repeated emphasis on its transcendental importance opens to question and speculation the integrity and competence of the honorable commission to carry out its constitutional mandate,” the petition read.

The Ilocano group, whose lawyer is former Comelec chairman and Constitution framer Christian Monsod, first followed up with the Comelec on March 4.

Comelec’s prolonged Marcos ruling prompts second follow-up from petitioners

The final arguments on the case were submitted by both parties on January 17, after which the petition was considered submitted for resolution in the Comelec’s Second Division at the time.

Commissioner Socorro Inting and Commissioner Rey Bulay remained in-charge of the case, despite recent reshuffling among the two Comelec divisions. Either of them could be the ponente, although Inting said in March she was “not aware” of the case.

As of this writing, it has been 122 days since the petition was filed by the Ilocano group, and 81 days since the final arguments were submitted by both camps.

The Comelec is also still handling three unresolved cases seeking to block Marcos Jr.’s bid at the en banc level, namely:

  • Lihaylihay vs Marcos (petition to declare nuisance) – junked by the Comelec Second Division
  • Buenafe et al vs Marcos (petition to cancel certificate of candidacy) – junked by the Second Division
  • Ilagan et al vs Marcos, Akbayan et al vs Marcos, Mangelen vs Marcos (consolidated disqualification petition) – junked by the First Division

Most of the petitions against Marcos Jr.’s candidacy are centered on his tax conviction in the 1990s.

The Comelec is moving at a snail’s pace in dealing with the disqualification saga against Marcos Jr., compared to how the poll body handled the petitions seeking to block the 2016 presidential bid of Grace Poe who was the front-runner at the time.

In December 2015, the Comelec en banc had cleared its desks of anti-Poe petitions after only 68 days. By March 2016, the Supreme Court had concluded that Poe was allowed to seek the country’s top post.

On March 24, the Comelec committed to come out with a ruling before April ends.

“The Chairman is committing that number one, before the end of April, a decision by the en banc will be forthcoming. A decision on these cases… will be decided before the elections,” Comelec Commissioner George Garcia had said. “The earliest will be the second week of April, the latest will be the third week of April.” 

Comelec’s prolonged Marcos ruling prompts second follow-up from petitioners

Without a Comelec en banc decision, appeals cannot be made to the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on the matter with finality. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.