Marcos camp disputes bases for DQ petitions
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has granted the request of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s camp for more time to answer a petition seeking to cancel his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the presidency.
The poll body’s spokesperson, James Jimenez, confirmed through Twitter on Thursday that the second division gave Marcos another five days from Nov. 17 to submit his reply. However, since the fifth day, Nov. 21, is a Sunday, the deadline will be the following day.
The division initially scheduled the conference on the case for Nov. 26 through video link.
On Nov. 15, the Marcos family’s lawyer, Estelito Mendoza, formally notified the second division that he would act as the former senator’s counsel.
Mendoza, now 91, served as solicitor general under former President Ferdinand Marcos and has continued to act as counsel for the family in their graft cases upon their return to the country from the United States where they fled after the 1986 People Power Revolution.
Marcos’ camp insisted that the Comelec did not have jurisdiction over petitions to cancel his COC.
In a statement, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, the former senator’s spokesperson, dismissed the fresh disqualification case against him as another nuisance petition.
“These are cheap political gimmicks from the same people who do not want the country to move ahead and get out of the pandemic,” Rodriguez said.
According to him, the political opponents of Marcos have refused to elevate political discourse and instead resorted “to dirty campaigning, character assassination and mudslinging.”
Conviction upheld, modifiedThe Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 105 convicted the younger Marcos on July 27, 1995, over his failure to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.
He brought his case to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in October 1997 to uphold his conviction but modified the penalty by deleting the prison term and imposing only a fine.
Rodriguez insisted that the Comelec “has no jurisdiction to review, amend, modify or nullify decisions of the Court of Appeals.”
Currently, there are four petitions filed in the Comelec opposing the candidacy of the son and namesake of the late dictator on the grounds that he is barred from running for any public office due to his conviction on tax charges.
The first one seeking to cancel Marcos’ COC was filed on Nov. 2 by groups representing political detainees, human rights and health rights advocates who fought against the Marcos dictatorship.
The second petition-intervention was filed on Nov. 8 by a group of taxpayers represented by lawyer Howard Calleja.
Another petition, this time seeking Marcos’ disqualification, was filed on Nov. 17 by activists imprisoned during martial law who were also represented by Calleja.
The fourth petition filed by one Danilo Lihaylihay seeks to declare Marcos a “nuisance candidate.”
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