By Rey Panaligan | Manila Bulletin
The Supreme Court (SC) did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop the canvass by Congress starting May 24 of the votes cast for presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Instead, the SC – after its full court session on Thursday, May 19 – required Marcos, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Senate and the House of Representatives to file their comments on both the petition and the plea for TRO within 15 days from their receipt of notice.
The SC’s public information office (PIO), quoting from the resolution said:
“WHEREAS, considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the Petition, without necessarily giving due course thereto, it is necessary and proper to REQUIRE the respondents to COMMENT on the petition and prayer for temporary restraining order within a period of fifteen (15) days from notice hereof.
“NOW, THEREFORE, respondents Comelec, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr., Senate of the Philippines, and House of Representatives are hereby required to COMMENT on the petition and prayer for temporary restraining order within a period of fifteen (15) days from notice hereof.”
The SC issued the resolution as it acted on the first of the two cases filed by separate groups which challenged the Comelec’s Jan. 17, 2022 and May 10, 2022 rulings that dismissed the disqualification cases filed against Marcos in the last May 9 presidential elections.
Both petitions pleaded the SC for the issuance of a TRO against the start of the congressional canvass.
The first case was filed by the group of Fr. Christian B. Buenafe last May 16, while the second petition was lodged by the group of by the group led by Bonifacio Parabuac Ilagan last May 18.
It was not known immediately why the second petition was not taken up during last Thursday’s full court session.
The May 19 full court session must have been a special full court session since the SC is still on its recess for the traditional decision-writing period until June 10.
The session must have also been presided over by Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V. F. Leonen as acting chief justice because Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo is on wellness leave until May 30.
The first petition acted upon by the SC claimed that Marcos allegedly attempted to mislead the electorate because he made misrepresentations in his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.
They alleged that Marcos has been a public officer for more than 25 years and that he was charged in eight criminal tax cases before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 105 for violating the National Internal Revenue code (NIRC) of 1977, on his failure to file income tax returns for 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985.
They told the SC that the RTC, among other convictions, sentenced Marcos to nine years imprisonment for failure to pay his income tax returns and to pay the taxes for the years 1982 until 1985.
They said that Marcos then appealed the case before the Court of Appeals (CA). On Oct. 31, 1997, the CA affirmed Marcos’ conviction beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 45 of the NIRC related to his failure to file income tax returns for the taxable years 1982 to 1985, they also said.
They pointed out that Marcos withdrew his petition filed before the SC.
“For all intents and purposes, but more relevantly in relation to the cancellation of respondent Marcos Jr.’s Certificate of Candidacy for ‘President,’ Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. is a convicted criminal,” the petitioners said.
As of Friday afternoon, May 13, Marcos was on top of the partial and unofficial count of votes with 31,104,175 votes as against Vice President Leni Robredo’s 14,822,051 votes based on data from the Comelec Transparency Media Server.
Marcos’ running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, also maintained a huge lead among other vice presidential candidates with 31,561,948 votes as of May 13.
Congress was reported to be starting its canvass of votes for president and vice president on May 24 and will proclaim the winners thereafter.