By Hector Lawas | Journal News Online
PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand Marcos Jr., thru counsel former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza, on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss for lack of merit the petition that sought to void the rulings issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) junking the disqualification cases filed against him.
In a 45-page comment, Marcos Jr. said the SC doesn’t have the jurisdiction to try and hear the petition, saying only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can solely look into his eligibility to run in the 2022 presidential elections.
He explained that Congress has already canvassed the duly executed Certificates of Canvass and on May 25, after determining that he received the highest number of votes, proclaimed him as the duly-elected president.
“In light of the above, the Supreme Court has lost jurisdiction over the instant case. Any issues as to the qualifications of respondent Marcos Jr. falls within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal as provided by the Constitution, ” Marcos Jr.’s comment read in part.
Furthermore, the incoming president said the plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order as sought by the petitioners has already become moot and academic following the canvassing done by the two houses of Congress, and his subsequent proclamation.
Will of the people
Marcos Jr. pointed out in his comment that the petition “defiles the sovereign will of the people,” or exactly 31,629, 783 Filipinos who voted him as the country’s leader for the next six (6) years.
“To allow the defeated and rejected candidate to take over is to disenfranchise the citizens representing 58.77 percent of the votes cast, without fault on their part,” he said.
Marcos Jr. also explained that even if the SC has not lost jurisdiction over the petition, the petition must be still be dismissed for lack of merit.
According to him, the rulings of the Comelec Second Division and the poll body’s en banc on the absence of false material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy was “a finding of fact that is entitled to great weight and must be accorded full respect.”
“In the case at bar, the Commission correctly dismissed the Petition for Cancellation of COC. As found by the Commission, there was simply no ground to cancel BBM’s COC. Furthermore, far from acting in an arbitrary or despotic manner, the Commission extended reasonable liberality to both parties during the proceedings to ensure that the case should be resolved fairly and on its merits, “he said.
Marcos Jr. continued that there was no material misrepresentation in his COC, contrary to the contention of the petitioners.
He cited the following:
The petitioners are: Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano.
They sought to annul and set aside the Comelec En Banc Resolution dated May 10, 2022, and the January 17, 2022 resolution of the poll body’s second division.
The second division’s resolution denied the petitioners’ petition to cancel Marcos Jr. ‘s certificate of candidacy, while the en banc’ s resolution upheld such denial.
The petitioners claimed that the twin Comelec resolutions were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by not cancelling Marcos Jr. ‘s COC.
They pointed out that Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code has clearly provided for the cancellation of the COC of Marcos Jr.
The petitioners added that the challenged Comelec resolutions was violative of the SC ruling in Jalosjos vs. The Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 205033, June 18, 2013
In said ruling, the high court ruled: “The foregoing matter is not without established precedent. In Jalosjos, Jr. and Cardino, the Court held that the COMELEC’s denial of due course to and/or cancellation of a CoC in view of a candidate’s disqualification to run for elective office based on a final conviction is subsumed under its mandate to enforce and administer all laws relating to the conduct of elections.”
But Marcos Jr. noted that the petitions core argument was the ‘mistaken assumption’ that the perpetual disqualification under Section 286 (c) of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), is automatically imposed upon the mere fact of conviction.
” Petitioners advance the theory that by ‘operation of law’ and regardless of whether such disqualification is expressly directed in the judgment, aforesaid perpetual disqualification is ‘deemed written into the final judgment,'” the comment read.
” However, there is no basis for petitioners’ contentions. Petitioners assertions are clearly lifted out of jurisprudence involving disqualifications under the Revised Penal Code, ” it added.
Marcos Jr. said petitioners should not seek refuge on the wordings of Section 286 (c) of the NIRC because” a careful scrutiny of the said section reveals that the wordings thereof does not support the theory that the perpetual disqualification therein is deemed written into a judgment of conviction. “