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Business Mirror : BBM will most likely prevail in petitions – ex-Ateneo School of Govt dean

News & Interviews
10 January 2022

By Business Mirror

PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., will most likely prevail in the petitions to cancel his Certificate of Candidacy in the 2022 elections before the Comelec because of the “political doctrine” that needs to be decided by the people and not by the court.

This was the view shared by lawyer Tony La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government,  in a recent interview over ANC. The court, he  said, cannot disqualify or dismiss a leading candidate that enjoys the support of the majority of the electorate.  

“There is also a strong argument why they should be dismissed. The ultimate one is a political question. Especially a leading candidate, you should not disqualify a leading candidate that seems to have the support of many people, because you are depriving the people of their choice.

“That is political law 101: That certain things should be decided by the people and not by the courts,” said La Viña.

Such was being taught in law school, particularly in the disqualification cases in the national polls, La Viña noted.

“I teach Constitutional law, political law, and election law. When I teach this, I always tell my students, when you look at the disqualification cases, you look at the law of course, and the jurisprudence,” La Viña said.

On the possible directions the Comelec and even the Supreme Court may take, he said: “I’m inclined to think that most likely Bongbong Marcos will prevail in the disqualification cases, because more than anything, the political question doctrine. The court cannot decide this, it should be the people that should decide this.”

Another legal argument for Marcos which has been applied by the court many times, La Viña recalled, is the constitutional requirement on the qualifications of the president.

“The qualifications for president are laid down in the Constitution and it’s very simple. A voter, a citizen, a natural born citizen, 40 years, can read and write. That’s just very very basic. Now, that goes down to the question: is he a voter? Can he be considered a qualified voter, because that’s where the disqualifications can come in,” he explained.

Earlier, other legal luminaries have opined that Marcos Jr., is qualified to run for president, and the cases are either weak or without legal basis.

Atty. Emmanuel Samonte Tipon, a US-based Filipino lawyer and a former dean of Northwestern University College of Law, dismantled the issues raised in each of the petitions, now seven in all.

Ateneo Law professor and former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said that the disqualification case against Marcos has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.

A similar view was aired by UST College of Law Dean Nilo Divina, who said the petition filed against Marcos’ COC would likely fail because it is defective in form and lacks sufficient legal basis.