By Melvin Sarangay | Manila Bulletin
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is qualified to run for President in the 2022 May national elections.
This was stated in a five-page response to the summons issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in connection with the petition filed by certain groups seeking to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of the former lawmaker.
Marcos, through his lawyer Estelito Mendoza, called for the outright dismissal of the petition and a face-to-face argument instead of a virtual or video conference.
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the petition be dismissed. On the matter of hearing the petition, considering that the petition refers to the highest elective position in government and calls for the participation of the people in general, [it is respectfully prayed] that the petition be heard by face-to-face argument instead of a virtual or video conference,” Marcos said in his statement to the election governing body.
The case came from the petition to cancel the former lawmaker’s COC which was filed by Fr. Christian Buenafe of Task Force Detainees and other groups who claimed that the former senator cannot run for public office since he was convicted by a Quezon City court for failure to file his income tax return (ITR) from 1982 to 1985.
The group argued that his conviction disqualified him from any public office as the same involves moral turpitude.
But the Marcos camp, through its veteran lawyer Mendoza, countered this by saying that the petition is “bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.” “It is relevant and the commission can take judicial notice, that respondent had previously been elected to several elective positions in government specifically inter alia provincial governor of Ilocos Norte, member of the House of Representatives, and member of the Philippine Senate,” said Mendoza, who also took into account the qualifications of the various elective positions that Marcos has been elected to and occupied.
“It is of judicial notice that the respondent (Marcos) has all the qualifications of a President under Section 2, Article VII of the Constitution and consequently there can be no violation of Section 78 in relation of Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code upon which a petition such as the one now before the commission.” According to the veteran lawyer, the petition merits outright dismissal on the same basis alone.
The former Solicitor General also noted that the former Ilocos Norte congressman did not commit a crime involving moral turpitude.
“What is clear and certainly beyond dispute is that the Court of Appeals (CA) decision does not, and no inference can be made from its decision that Marcos, BBM in this case, has been found by the CA of committing a crime involving moral turpitude,” Mendoza stressed.