Respondents, petitioners submit final arguments in Marcos COC cancellation case | Inquirer News
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Respondents, petitioners submit final arguments in Marcos COC cancellation case

/ 11:16 PM December 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Both respondents and petitioners of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have submitted their respective final arguments before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division to make a decision on the first case challenging his presidential bid by cancelling his  certificate of candidacy (COC).

In his 54-page memorandum, Marcos Jr’s legal counsel, led by Estelito Mendoza, argued that Marcos did not commit false material representation in his COC, which is disputed by the petitioners.

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Marcos’ camp said that he possesses “all the qualifications required of a president under the Constitution.”

The qualifications the Constitution required were provided for by Article VII Section 2 which states that a president should be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years old on the day of the election, and a resident of the country for at least ten years.

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His camp said his eligibility should be gauged solely using the said qualifications. “The use of any other criterion that is not among those enumerated in the said section violates the constitution,” it stated.

“[T]he petitioners resorted to additional matters, other than those cited in Section 2, Article VII of the Constitution. Their arguments on BBM’s alleged misrepresentation is IMMATERIAL,” it further read.

Petitioners led by Theodore Te, on the other hand, maintained in their memorandum that Marcos Jr. is perpetually disqualified from holding public office saying he committed a false material representation, asserting that Marcos Jr. knew he was ineligible due to his tax case conviction, but still put in his COC, even in the past, that he was eligible.

Comelec has no jurisdiction, moral turpitude

Marcos Jr.’s counsel also argued that Comelec has no jurisdiction to rule upon his qualifications, pointing out that the Constitution only allows the Supreme Court to decide the qualifications of presidential aspirants.

The memorandum cited the Section 4 Article VII of the Constitution which states: “The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President and Vice President and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.”

Marcos’ counsel also claimed that he was never convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, saying the Supreme Court adjudged that failure to pay tax returns is not an offense which involves moral turpitude.

“First, the failure to file tax returns is not inherently immoral,” the petition noted, while pointing out that the said crime is malum prohibitum — an offense prohibited only by virtue of statute but not inherently wrong.

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Finally, Marcos Jr’s camp said the cancellation of his COC “will effectively deprive the electorate of their choice” for the president in next year’s polls.

Question of honesty

For their part, the petitioners maintained that Marcos could not be allowed to run again due to what they believe to be “lies, same deceitful misrepresentation” when he repeatedly ran for office in different positions despite his tax case conviction.

“Each time he faced the people to ask for their votes, he represented himself falsely to them as an eligible candidate,” their memorandum stated.

The petitioners said that he should not be allowed to run “most especially at this time when respect for the law has comprehensively eroded, when the People are habitually denied justice because they are repeatedly lied to by their elected officials.”

“Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has demonstrated that he is incapable of living up to the Oath of Office he aspires to take,” they stressed. “This commission must make sure that he is not given the chance to do so.”

After both sides submitted their memoranda, the Comelec is now expected to decide the first disqualification case.

The Comelec Second Division has recently dismissed a petition to declare Marcos Jr. a nuisance candidate.

Aside from the mentioned cases, there is another petition to cancel his COC and four other disqualification cases.

RELATED STORIES

Comelec tells petitioners, respondent in Marcos 1st DQ case to submit memo

Comelec junks petition to declare Bongbong Marcos a nuisance candidate

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