By Gabriel Pabico Lalu | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) dismissal of the disqualification petitions against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signals the start of the Uniteam ticket’s continuous and grueling campaign for the 2022 national elections, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said on Friday.
Duterte-Carpio, who is running for vice president alongside Marcos who is eyeing the presidency, said that the Comelec First Division’s ruling is a welcome development for their tandem.
“Of course this is a welcome development for the Uniteam. Makikita po natin na tuloy-tuloy na ‘yong kanyang kandidatura and tuloy-tuloy na rin ‘yong aming pangangampanya para sa Halalan 2022,” the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte said in an ambush interview.
On Thursday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced the dismissal of the consolidated disqualification cases against Marcos, which were filed by martial law survivors through Bonifacio Ilagan, Akbayan party-list group, and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Commissioner Abubakar Mangelen.
The petitioners sought to disqualify Marcos from running for president because of his past conviction before the Court of Appeals and the Quezon City regional trial court for failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 — which petitioners said perpetually disqualified him from seeking an elective post.
The Marcos-Duterte tandem kicked off their presidential and vice presidential bid in a program held at the Philippine Arena last Tuesday, on the start of the official campaign period set by Comelec.
Speaking of campaigns, Duterte-Carpio also started touring the country, recently visiting Nueva Ecija for her Central Luzon leg. Asked if there is a need to revise rules on the ground to ensure that COVID-19 health protocols are observed, she said that they are leaving it up for the Comelec to decide.
“Well we leave it up them to reassess what is happening on the ground, reassess if their rules are realistic on the ground,” she said.
As for their team, Duterte-Carpio said that they have been trying to manage the crowd — although she has observed that only distancing protocols were disregarded.
“Well sinusubukan din talaga namin, meron kaming mga personnel na in-charge para sa reminders ng minimum public health standards, kahit ako tumutulong na rin ako mag-remind sa mga tao, at ‘yong police, at ‘yong local government, and mga public officials din tumutulong na rin sila,” the Davao Mayor said.
“But minsan kasi ‘yong mga tao sa sobrang passion nila and sa excitement nila nakakalimutan talaga nila ‘yong minimum public health standards. But so far naman, sa distancing lang nagkaka-problema talaga dahil nakikita namin lahat naman ay compliant sa mask,” she added.
Currently, Comelec allows physical campaigning, while observing the protocols and guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
However, the Department of Health (DOH) recently expressed concern that the campaign kickoff last February 8 may lead to super-spreader events, as some health and safety protocols against the pandemic have been disregarded.
Early in January, the country saw a huge and quick spike in COVID-19 infections due to the loosened restrictions during the holiday season, and the more infectious Omicron variant. At one point, active infections soared to over 291,000 — an all-time high for the Philippines.