THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will fast-track action on a disqualification case filed by various groups against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., but the earliest estimate for a resolution could be sometime in “late December” as the process, if followed, takes at least six weeks.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez made this estimate in separate interviews on Thursday, when asked about the case filed by, among others, human-rights groups saying Marcos should be disqualified for allegedly lying in his certificate of candidacy filed last month for the May 2022 elections.
Per the complaint, the former senator claimed he had all the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution, but actually failed in one respect—his conviction on a tax evasion case for failure to file income tax returns when he was Ilocos Norte vice governor before their family went into exile with the 1986 Edsa revolt.
Several quarters had noted that Marcos Jr. had ran for, and won as senator in 2010; and then again ran for vice president in 2016, but was not disqualified on both times.
Asked by CNN’s The Source host Pinky Webb, “If we were to estimate how long a resolution could be reached?” Jimenez said, “I’m estimating maybe, late December.”
In an earlier radio interview, he said the whole process, at best, “will last for not less than six weeks.”
The first step is to raffle off the case filed against Marcos to one of two divisions of Comelec, Jimenez said. Then, the parties will be given notice and told to reply, usually giving them five days.
Then, a pre-conference is called for respondent and petitioner to face off. Lawyers then are required to submit their memoranda, after which a case is deemed submitted for resolution.
Jimenez said they will “send notices next week.”
Asked by CNN PHL’s Webb if Marcos had in fact made any claim in his COC that he was not convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, Jimenez explained that a candidate is only required to swear in the COC that, “I am legally qualified”—a catch-all statement. That attestation implies that the aspirant knows all the qualifications required for the position aspired to—in the case of a presidential aspirant, he has not been convicted with final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude.
Marcos Jr.’s lawyer Atty. Vic Rodriguez earlier said they had not seen copies of the complaint, but that was apparently because Comelec must first raffle off the cases, before sending notices to parties, explained Jimenez.
Rodriguez denounced the “nuisance” complaint as smacking of politicking by parties desperate over the consistently high survey rankings of Marcos Jr., a former senator and son of the late dictator who ruled the Philippines for two decades.