By Cathrine Gonzales | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — A group of petitioners seeking the cancellation of candidacy of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to recall its order granting his appeal for an extension of the deadline for filing his answer to their petition.
In a text message to INQUIRER.net on Tuesday, Atty. Theodore Te, lawyer for the petitioners, confirmed that they filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec last Friday. In their motion, the petitioners stressed that the November 18 order of the poll body’s Second Division is “blatantly contrary to law.”
Specifically, they asked the Comelec to “RECONSIDER and RECALL its Order…, DENY the respondent’s motion for extension for being moot and academic, and BAR the respondent from submitting controverting evidence and from filing his memorandum pursuant to its Rules of Procedure.”
“Additionally, petitioners respectfully pray that the Commission take the appropriate steps motu proprio to inquire into the statements of the respondent’s spokesperson alluding to insider knowledge of the Commission’s actions,” the petitioners said.
On November 18, the Comelec’s Second Division granted Marcos’ appeal for another five days from November 17 to submit his reply to the petition that seeks to cancel his certificate of candidacy.
The deadline for Marcos’ camp to reply to the petition filed on November 2 was originally on November 16, as indicated in the summons issued by the Comelec. The camp of the former senator failed to submit their response on time.
However, the petitioners cited Section 4 (6) of Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, as amended by Comelec Resolution No. 9523, which provides for no ground for any extension of time for filing an answer.
This provision states that “within a non-extendible period of five days from receipt of summons, the respondent shall, personally or through his authorized representative, file his verified Answer” and that “the failure of the respondent to file his verified Answer within the reglementary period shall bar the respondent from submitting controverting evidence or filing his memorandum.”
The petitioners further stressed that “the period to file the Verified Answer had already irretrievably lapsed.”
“For this reason, there was nothing to grant; the respondent’s Motion for Extension was now moot,” they said.
“Respondent’s admission that he received the summons on 11th November meant that his Motion for Extension was viable only up to the close of business on the 16th of November 2021. Beyond that, it served no purpose as there was nothing to extend,” they added.