By Neil Arwin Mercado | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. found an unlikely ally in Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, who said this fellow presidential aspirant should not be deprived of his chances to vie for the presidency through disqualification.
Marcos is subject to a disqualification complaint before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) arising from his criminal conviction in a tax case more than two decades ago. Marcos’ camp has labeled it a mere “propaganda,” and a “nuisance” complaint to derail his presidential run.
In an interview with reporters, dela Rosa, himself a candidate for president under the banner of the administration party PDP-Laban, said he is not in favor of the petition for disqualification against Marcos, saying his critics should just show their dislike of him in the ballots.
“Let the law prevail. Kung nakalagay sa batas ay dapat mangibabaw ‘yung batas, sundin natin. Pero kung tatanungin nyo ako sa aking personal opinion, since this is politics, this is in time for politics—‘yung disagreement o ‘yung hate ninyo sa tao dapat doon na lang ipakita sa balota,” Dela Rosa said.
(Let the law prevail. We should follow what is stated in the law. But if you ask me, in my personal opinion, since this is in time for politics, just show your disagreement with or hate towards a person in the ballot.)
“Sana hindi siya ma-deprive na tumakbo dahil sayang naman ‘yung chance nya—may supporters din ‘yan sa kanyang pagtakbo. Sana doon na lang ipakita sa balota ‘yung inyong disagreement o dislike sa kanya,” he added.
(I hope he won’t be deprived of the chance to run. He also has supporters. Just show in the ballots your disagreement or dislike towards him.)
Dela Rosa said it does not look good to “win by default” simply because another candidate was disqualified from the presidential race.
“Baka sabihin nila, ‘Ah ikaw nanalo ka dahil na-disqualify si Senator Bongbong Marcos. Parang winner ka lang by default without a good fight.’ Hindi maganda ‘yun diba? Sana mapagbigyan pa rin,” he said.
(They might say, ‘You only won because Senator Bongbong Marcos was disqualified. It’s like you won by default without a fight.’ That’s not good, right? I hope he will still be allowed to run.)
“I’m not disregarding the effects of the law kung mayroong batas na kailangang i-implement dyan dahil dapat i-enforce ang batas pertaining to that,” he added.
(I’m not disregarding the effects of the law, the law pertaining to that has to be implemented.)
The petitioners, composed of political detainees and human rights and medical organizations that opposed Marcos’ dictatorship, claim that Marcos Jr. is not eligible to run for any public office since the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted him in 1995 for his failure to file income tax returns.
In a statement shared by their lawyer Theodore Te, the petitioners said that Marcos’ COC “contains multiple false material representations.”
“Specifically, Marcos falsified his Certificate of Candidacy when he claimed that he was eligible to be a candidate for president of the Philippines in the 2022 national elections when in fact he is disqualified from doing so,” the petitioners said.