Comelec

Comelec moves at snail’s pace on Marcos cases, vows to decide before May 9

Dwight de Leon
Comelec moves at snail’s pace on Marcos cases, vows to decide before May 9

DISQUALIFY MARCOS. Members of party-list group Akbayan hold a demonstration outside the Comelec office in Manila on November 4, 2021. They urge the poll body to block the 2022 presidential bid of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Rappler

'We are running out of time, realistically speaking,' says Ray Paolo Santiago, co-lawyer in one of the disqualification cases filed against Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) vowed to resolve before election day, May 9, the multiple appeals filed by petitioners in cases seeking to block the presidential bid of the late dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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

It took the Comelec only 68 days to clear its desks of anti-Poe cases. By March 2016, the Supreme Court (SC) had concluded that Poe was allowed to seek the country’s top post.

In contrast, none of the cases against Marcos have been elevated to the SC, 143 days since the poll body received its first petition against the former senator’s candidacy.

One petition against Marcos Jr. has not even been resolved at the division level.

As of late February, three anti-Marcos cases are still the subject of en banc review, 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

Asked for an update on Friday, March 4, acting Comelec chairperson Socorro Inting said the appeals have been raffled off to a ponente.

“Definitely, these cases, the motions for reconsideration will have to be decided before election day,” Inting told reporters.

Comelec moves at snail’s pace on Marcos cases, vows to decide before May 9

Inting said she will direct the clerk’s office to ask the ponente in the Marcos disqualification petition filed by the group of former poll chairman Christian Monsod to speed up the resolution of the case.

Monsod’s co-lawyer Ray Paolo Santiago said time is of the essence, as the anti-Marcos petitions are expected to be elevated to the High Court anyway.

“We are running out of time, realistically speaking. That is why we are urgently asking the Comelec so it will not be confusing for our electorate. That is all what we are asking, clarity for the electorate,” Santiago said earlier Friday, during the petitioners’ filing of an urgent motion to resolve their case.

Comelec moves at snail’s pace on Marcos cases, vows to decide before May 9

Marcos Jr.’s tax conviction in the 1990s is at the center of the cases seeking to block his candidacy.

The challenges to Marcos Jr.’s candidacy have opened the floodgates to multiple scenario-building, specifically as to what will happen should he be disqualified before or after the polls.

If he is disqualified before election day, Marcos Jr. can be substituted by someone with the same surname.

If Marcos Jr. wins the presidency but is only disqualified after the polls, the Comelec has said the the likely scenario is that the person who wins the vice presidency in May will succeed him. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

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