MANILA, Philippines – The last disqualification case against presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. pending with a division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not be affected by the reorganization caused by the entry of new poll officials.
New commissioners George Garcia and Aimee Torrefranca-Neri are now part of the Comelec’s 2nd Division and 1st Division, respectively, following the seven-member en banc’s session on Wednesday, March 16.
Saidamen Pangarungan, as new Comelec chairman, is not assigned to a division, but has the power to vote on cases elevated to the en banc.
The complete composition of the two divisions is as follows:
- 1st Division: Socorro Inting (presiding commissioner), Aimee Ferolino, Aimee Torrefranca-Neri
- 2nd Division: Marlon Casquejo (presiding commissioner), Rey Bulay, George Garcia
George Garcia confirmed on Thursday, March 17, the reorganization has no effect on the Salandanan vs Marcos case, which was filed by a group of Martial Law survivors represented by former elections chief Christian Monsod in December 2021.
That’s because following the retirements of three Comelec officials in February, the petition remained with the so-called Former 2nd Division, composed of Inting and Bulay.
Petitioners in early March formally urged the Comelec to urgently resolve the case, warning of issues that may arise should the disqualification petition remain unresolved by election day.
They cited Rule 25 Section 5 of the 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedure, which states that the person who gets the highest number of votes in the elections is at risk of having their proclamation suspended, if the evidence of guilt against them is strong, despite the unresolved status of the petition against that person.
Aside from the Salandanan vs Marcos case, three petitions are the subject of en banc review, namely:
- Lihaylihay vs Marcos (petition to declare nuisance) – junked by the Comelec 2nd Division
- Buenafe et al vs Marcos (petition to cancel certificate of candidacy) – junked by the 2nd Division
- Ilagan et al vs Marcos, Akbayan et al vs Marcos, Mangelen vs Marcos (consolidated disqualification petition) – junked by the 1st Division
Most of the petitions against Marcos Jr.’s candidacy are centered on his tax conviction in the 1990s. – Rappler.com
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