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Manila Standard : Lawyer: BBM qualified to run; pushes for face-to-face hearing

News & Interviews
29 November 2021

By Manila Standard

Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is qualified to run for president in the upcoming 2022 elections, lawyer Estelito Mendoza said in a five-page answer to the summons issued by the Commission on Elections in connection with the petition seeking to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy.

Marcos, through Mendoza, sought the outright dismissal of the petition, and that the same be heard by 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’ plea read.

The case stemmed from the petition to cancel Marcos’ CoC lodged by Fr. Christian Buenafe and several others, claiming that the former senator cannot run for public office as he was convicted by a Quezon City court for his multiple failure to file his income tax return (ITR) from 1982 to 1985.

They argued that his conviction perpetually disqualified him from seeking any public office as the same involves moral turpitude.

But Marcos’ camp, thru Mendoza, countered this by saying that the petition will show that it 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,” Mendoza said.

There are now at least four petitions filed against Marcos in the May 2022 polls before Comelec.

These include two petitions for cancellation filed by Fr. Christian B. Buenafe et al. and Tiburcio Marcos; a petition for disqualification filed by Bonifacio Ilagan et al. and a petition to declare as nuisance candidate filed by Danilo Lihaylihay.\

Of the four cases, only the Buenafe et al. Petition has been elevated to the division level.