Manila Bulletin : Three DQ cases vs BBM dismissed

10 February 2022

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has dismissed the three petitions seeking to disqualify presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the May 2022 polls.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on Thursday, Feb. 10, said the First Division dismissed the consolidated petitions “for lack of merit.”

He was referring to the consolidated petitions of Bonifacio Ilagan, Akbayan, and Abubakar Mangelen.

In the said ruling, the Comelec First Division said the grounds cited by the petitioners failed to meet the requirements to disqualify a candidate cited under the Omnibus Election Code.

“It bears stressing that Respondent was only meted with the penalty of a fine for his failure to file his income tax returns. The disqualification under Section 12 of the OEC, which Petitioners cited as a basis for disqualification, contemplates only three instances when a person may be disqualified to hold public office,” it said.

The Comelec said this is if the person is declared by competent authority as insane or incompetent; or is sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than 18 months; or is sentenced by final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude.

“It is clear as day that Respondent’s sentence to pay fines does not fall under any of the above-enumerated instances for disqualification under Section 12 of the OEC to operate. Thus, whether or not he satisfied the payment of fines and penalties with the RTC of Quezon City is immaterial, as his sentence did not fall within the purview of Section 12 of OEC,” the Comelec said.

As to whether respondent is qualified to be elected as President of the Philippines, the Comelec First Division said taking into consideration the foregoing disquisitions, our answer is in the “affirmative.”

“Wherefore, premises considered, the petitions are hereby dismissed for lack of merit,” it said.

The decision was released a week after the retirement of Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, a member of the division.

Guanzon earlier revealed that she voted to disqualify Marcos Jr.

The decision was signed by Commissioners Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo.

Last year, the poll body also dismissed the petition of Danilo Lihaylihay seeking to declare Marcos as a nuisance candidate.

On Jan. 17, the Comelec Second Division junked the petition of Fr. Christian Buenafe et al seeking to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Marcos Jr.

On Feb. 8, the Comelec revealed that the petition of Tiburcio Marcos seeking to cancel the COC of the former senator was also dismissed by the Second Division.