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Manila Standard : Acts of desperation

News & Interviews
6 November 2021

By Charlie V. Manalo | Manila Standard

"The legal maneuvering seems doomed from the start."

They just won’t stop. Even if they’re starting to look stupid.

We have heard all sorts of accusations against the man, including the most ridiculous one – that he’s not the real Bongbong as the real Bongbong was killed in London years ago. What else haven’t we heard from them?

Unfortunately for them, the people just won’t bite as the more they hit him, the more his quest for the presidency gets stronger. Like a rampaging herd of bulls, it seems he is now at the point he is already unstoppable.

In fact, Malou Tiquia of Publicus Asia avers former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has already acquired a Teflon-like personality that he is no longer affected whatever issue is thrown at him.

I beg to disagree with Ms. Tiquia, however. It is my belief that the people are now already rejecting the anti-Marcos narrative fed to them by the Yellows, forerunner of the Pinklaws, more than 35 years ago. And this started to manifest in 2010 when BBM first ran for a senatorial seat where his supposed teammates, candidates from the Left adopted by his party, the Nacionalista, actively campaigned against him.

Unable to stop, or even slow down his surge, his opponents, again a coalition of supposed contradicting forces – the Oligarch-led Pinklaws and the Reds, have resorted to legal maneuverings, which ironically, is seen to be doomed from its very inception.

Early this week, they filed a three-page petition for disqualification which looks more of a rally manifesto being littered with anti-Marcos slogans, against BBM anchored on their distorted interpretation of the ruling on BBM’s case 25 years ago, claiming the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer of a crime involving moral turpitude.

Even former Justice Secretary and Ateneo Law School professor Alberto Agra says the petition filed to cancel BBM’s Certificate of Candidacy has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.

In a radio interview, Agra said it was clearly stated in the Omnibus Election Code that Marcos was qualified and had no shortcomings in his CoC submission.

The lawyer clarified that he is not Marcos’ lawyer or supporter, but based on his analysis of the case, it appears that Marcos’ case is not tax-evasion but simply failure to file his ITR.

The law states that in order to cancel the CoC of any candidate, he or she must be found guilty and punished with more than 18 months of imprisonment and be convicted of a crime involving ‘moral turpitude,’ which Agra says cannot qualify for the non-filing of ITR.

Agra notes that the Supreme Court has already clarified the issue, where no less than Justice Antonio Carpio penned the decision in a similar case

In that particular decision, the SC said that a crime concerning the filing of ITR would involve moral turpitude if there was fraud committed.

Incidentally, it was Carpio’s article in a national daily which apparently triggered the filing of the complaint.

According to Kilusang Bagong Lipunan senatorial bet, lawyer Larry Gadon, Carpio’s article published days before the petition was filed, “deliberately avoided the legal process that a decision of the lower courts is not final, and therefore once appealed and the conviction’ is overturned and set aside and deleted, then there is no conviction to speak of.”

“But frustrated Chief Justice Carpio still attached the word convicted until the end of his sloppily written article exposing his motive of besmirching the person of BBM,” Gadon says.

As a former member of the Supreme Court, Gadon says Carpio should very well know “that until a case is decided by the SC, the lower court decision is not final and if overturned on Appeal, the decision is obliterated as if it does not exist and the final decision of the Supreme Court is the final and controlling decision.”

Add to it the fact that Carpio was a member of the SC when it decided BBM’s case in August 2009.

“It appears that Carpio is pretending to be dumb,” says Gadon.

But apparently sensing their petition for BBM’s disqualification is headed for the trash basket, his opponents bared they are now already readying another petition to DQ him, this time on the grounds that Court of Appeals erred in removing the prison term earlier meted by the Lower Court against BBM, saying the CA’s act was void ab initio, or void from the beginning, again advancing their own interpretation of the law.

BBM however remains unfazed. His lawyer, Vic Rodriguez, said Bongbong “is in his usual cool, calm, collected and cerebral self,” undaunted by petitions coming from the Pinklaws.

“We will file our answer, and, in the answer, all our legal arguments will be there,” said Rodriguez.

“Marcos is running for president and the support of the people every day is becoming more pronounced and in fact, the people answer for Bongbong Marcos and they’re the ones saying, leave Bongbong alone,” Rodriguez stressed.

Of course, it is now the people defending BBM. And that’s precisely the reason why the Pinklaws are resorting to desperate acts.