DQ cases in SC: What court records say | Inquirer News

DQ cases in SC: What court records say

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 12:37 PM May 18, 2022

DQ cases in the supreme court vs Bongbong Marcos

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, was again thrust into the political limelight after detractors of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. brought to it their bid to have the son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos disqualified as a presidential candidate.

READ: Petition to reverse Comelec decision on Bongbong Marcos’ DQ case reaches SC

The petition for certiorari that was filed on Tuesday (May 17) by civic leaders, represented by lawyer Theodore Te, was not the first election-related case to ever reach the high court as certiorari petitions questioning presidential candidacies had been filed also in 2004, 2010 and 2016.


Those were the years when resolutions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the eligibility of Fernando Poe Jr., Sen. Grace Poe and Joseph Estrada to stand election as president had been assailed before the high court.


The petitions to disqualify the Poe father-and-daughter were based on questions about them being natural-born Filipino citizens, one of the key qualifications for running for president. The petition against Estrada was based on the single-term limit for president set by the 1987 Constitution which Estrada defied by insisting that he did not complete his term because he was ousted from power and therefore qualified to run again.

But the petitions involving Poe Jr. and Poe were resolved by the SC with finality way before the elections—March 3, 2004 and April 9, 2016. Estrada’s case was resolved on Aug. 31, 2010, with the SC saying that the issue became “moot and academic” when he lost the election that year.

SC record on cases vs. presidential candidates

INQUIRER.net reviewed the cases of Poe Jr, Estrada, and Poe, who were presidential candidates in the 2004, 2010, and 2016 elections, and how the SC decided on the cases when these reached the high court through certiorari petitions.

In Poe Jr.’s case, the Comelec division and the en banc dismissed the petition to disqualify him and cancel his COC for lack of merit. The Comelec resolution was upheld by the SC en banc in an 8-5 vote, saying that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion in deciding that Poe Jr. was eligible.

In Estrada’s case, the petition to disqualify him was junked by the Comelec division and the en banc. While a petition for certiorari was filed at the SC three days before the elections, the SC, on Aug. 31, 2010, decided that the issue became moot when Estrada lost the elections.

In Poe’s case, the Comelec division and en banc decided in favor of the petitioners who sought the cancellation of her COC on the basis of material misrepresentation.


As a result, Poe filed a petition for certiorari at the SC. In a 9-6 vote, the SC granted Poe’s petitions, saying that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen and a resident for 10 years and 11 months. The SC en banc also said the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in her case.

Election results

Based on initial results of this year’s elections, which already represent 98.35 percent of election returns and 106,008 of 107,785 clustered precincts, Marcos Jr., with 31,104,175 votes, is set to win the presidency by a landslide.

Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—is expected to begin canvassing of votes for the presidency and vice presidency on May 24, which would lead to the proclamation of Marcos Jr. as winner of the presidential race and his running mate, Sara Duterte, as winner of the vice presidential race.

Marcos Jr. and Sara would officially become president and vice president after they take their oaths of office. The current terms of President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo end on June 30 after which Marcos and Sara would officially assume the two highest positions in the government and officially be called President and Vice President.

With over 31 million votes, even exceeding the votes received by Duterte in 2016, Marcos’ Malacañang comeback appeared to be already inevitable, but what if the SC decides to overturn the Comelec junking of the disqualification case against Marcos?

Marcos camp: ‘The people have spoken’

The petitioners said because of “material misrepresentations” in Marcos Jr.’s certificate of candidacy (COC), the high court should “cancel or deny due course his COC” declaring the same void ab initio, or void from the start. Their point of contention was that Marcos Jr. ticked the box for the answer No to the question “Have you ever been found liable for any offense which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from office?” when he filled out his COC.

Vic Rodriguez quote

When the Comelec junked the appeals for two of the petitions, the Marcos camp said the unanimous en banc decision had shown, “once and for all, that no amount of undue political pressure can weaken the resolve of the honorable commission to be on the side of truth and justice”.

RELATED STORY: Petitioners to bring Marcos DQ cases to high court

Last year, the Marcos camp responded to one of the five petitions filed against him, saying that it should be dismissed as “a cursory reading of the petition will show that it was bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation” required by the Omnibus Election Code.

The Marcos camp argued that the Court of Appeals decision that acquitted him of non-payment of deficient income taxes from 1982 to 1985, and affirmed his conviction for non-filing of tax returns, did not have inference to or state that he has been found to have committed a crime involving moral turpitude.

RELATED STORY: Comelec affirms dismissal of DQ cases vs Bongbong Marcos

Responding to the petition for certiorari that was filed at the SC, Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, said “I appeal to those who keep on pursuing these divisiveness. The people have spoken.”

“Instead of pushing for your agenda of animosity, help us focus and let us use our limited time to be more productive every day,” Rodriguez said on Tuesday (May 17).

READ: Marcos DQ petitioners told: ‘Learn to respect will of the Filipino people’

“The Filipino people have spoken and an overwhelming majority has voted president-elect Bongbong Marcos and vice president-elect Inday Sara Duterte into office as president and vice president,” said Rodriguez.

Technically, though, president-elect or vice president-elect are terms that apply only after Congress proclaims Marcos and Sara as winners of the presidential and vice presidential races.

Marcos never a candidate

If the SC rules in favor of the petitioners, Marcos Jr would be deemed to have never been a candidate from the very beginning, his candidacy invalidated and the votes credited to him considered stray, they said.

Should the petition be given due course by the SC, the petitioners also asked that the qualified candidate for the position obtaining the highest number of votes cast be proclaimed as winner.

While there’s jurisprudence on SC views toward disqualification cases, the court’s records in cases filed against presidential candidates would show rulings in favor of those running for the highest position in the land, except in the Estrada case which had been ruled to be “moot and academic” following the former president’s election loss.

Legal experts, however, said a ruling by the high court against a presidential candidate is always possible.

Lawyer Dante Gatmaytan, a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law, told INQUIRER.net that should the SC reverse the Comelec resolution because Marcos Jr. was disqualified, his COC will be declared void.

“The second placer will be declared the winner,” said Gatmaytan, who stressed that there is no telling how long the SC will decide the case.

Election lawyer Emil Marañon said even if Marcos Jr. has already been sworn in and had assumed office, the SC would still have residual jurisdiction to rule on whether he committed material misrepresentation in his COC and order its cancellation, “if it finds basis”.

“In that case, votes cast in Marcos Jr.’s favor will be treated as stray and not be counted. And whoever gets the highest number of votes after subtracting the stray votes, gets to be proclaimed president,” he said.

Backed by SC decisions

The petitioners said that with Marcos Jr.’s “void COC, the eligible candidate with the next highest number of votes should be proclaimed,” stressing that in the case of Jalosjos vs Comelec, the SC decided that “a void certificate of candidacy on the ground of ineligibility that existed at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy can never give rise to a valid candidacy”.

Supreme Court quote

They likewise stressed the case of Maquiling vs Comelec where the SC said that the “ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications and disqualifications of candidates.”

“When the law requires certain qualifications to be possessed or that certain disqualifications be not possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public officials, those qualifications must be met before one even becomes a candidate,” said the SC ruling on Maquiling vs Comelec.

“When a person who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the candidate,” part of the SC decision read.

In GR No. 195649, the SC said that with the disqualification of Romel Arnado, who won as mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, his rival Casan Maquiling “then becomes the winner in the election as he obtained the highest number of votes from among the qualified candidates”.

“We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea vs Comelec and Jalosjos vs Comelec that a void COC cannot produce any legal effect,” the SC said. Which means that the candidate with a void COC is considered to have not been a candidate in the first place.

Omnibus Election Code

Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) provides that “a verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false.”

As stated in Section 74 of the law, a COC “shall state that the person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office.”

Disqualification cases vs Bongbong Marcos

Section 12 of the OEC provides that “any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty”.

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Two of the petitions filed against Marcos are seeking to deny due course or to cancel his COC, four are disqualification petitions, and one is a petition to declare Marcos a nuisance candidate.

Long way

While the petitioners stressed that “time is of the essence,” any decision, order, or ruling of any commission may be brought to the SC on certiorari by the aggrieved party within 30 days from receipt of a copy of the commission’s ruling.

It was only on May 11 when the Comelec junked the appeal filed for the petition Lihaylihay vs Marcos, a petition which asked to declare Marcos a “nuisance candidate”. The only remaining Marcos case on the Comelec’s desk is the petition Pudno nga Ilokano vs Marcos.

Marañon said the 30 days meant that the aggrieved parties are given enough time by the law to bring a certiorari petition to the SC.

However, he said he believed that it makes logical sense for the SC to make this a priority because “I understand that the entire Philippines is waiting for the decision”.

“Considering the fact that it involves the highest leader of the land and the fact that there is a question on the qualifications or eligibility of a presidential candidate, it has an effect on the stability of the nation,” he told INQUIRER.net.

RELATED STORY: 1995 tax conviction of Marcos Jr. stirs social media, again

TAGS: CoC, Commission on Elections, INQFocus, Mangelen, Supreme Court

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