SC stops Comelec from canceling Senate bid of animal welfare advocate | Inquirer News
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SC stops Comelec from canceling Senate bid of animal welfare advocate

/ 06:46 PM January 19, 2022
SC stops Comelec from canceling Senate bid of animal rights advocate

FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court logo. (INQUIRER/LYN RILLON)

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped the implementation of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution declaring animal welfare advocate Norman Cordero Marquez as a “nuisance candidate.”

Marquez, a real estate broker as well as co-founder and sole administrator of the Baguio Animal Welfare, intends to run for senator in the elections this May.

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In a resolution made public Wednesday, the high court has ordered the poll body to comment on Marquez’ petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt of notice.

The restraining order was issued “upon the written recommendation of the Member-in-Charge” (the justice to whom the petition was assigned during the raffle).

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This is not Marquez’s first attempt for a Senate seat as he also filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in the May 2019 polls. He was declared a nuisance candidate by the Comelec in that election.

In revoking Marquez’s COC in 2019, the Comelec reasoned that he was “virtually unknown to the entire country except maybe in the locality where he resides” and that “though a real estate broker, he, absent clear proof of financial capability will not be able to sustain the financial rigors of a nationwide campaign.”

But Marquez told the poll body that it should not have discounted “the potential for a vastly untapped sector of animal lovers, raisers, and handlers, and the existing local and foreign benefactors and donors who are willing and capable to (sic) subsidize the expenses of a social-media-enhanced national campaign.”

In a September 3, 2019, decision, the SC through then (now retired) Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza granted Marquez’s petition stating that Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it declared Marquez a nuisance candidate for being “virtually unknown” and for failure to prove his financial capacity to launch a nationwide campaign.

“There is grave abuse of discretion: (1) when an act is done contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudence; or (2) when it is executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias. Both elements appear to be present in this case,” the high court said at the time.

While the SC acknowledged Comelec’s objective of weeding out candidates who have not shown a bona fide intention to run for office, it likewise said that “any measure designed to accomplish the said objective should, however, not be arbitrary and oppressive and should not contravene the Republican system ordained in our Constitution.”

“Unfortunately, the Comelec’s preferred standard falls short of what is constitutionally permissible,” the high court said in its 2019 decision.

Although the SC reversed Comelec’s decision on Marquez’s 2019 senatorial candidacy, he was not able to get a restraining order thus, his name was removed from the ballot and he was excluded from the May 2019 polls.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Norman Cordero Marquez, Politics, Supreme Court
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