By Rey E. Requejo,Maricel Cruzand1 others | Manila Standard
The camp of presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday again urged petitioners in two disqualification cases filed against the runaway winner in the May 9 presidential race to “stop pursuing their agenda of divisiveness and animosity.”
Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman and chief of staff of Marcos, said they should instead learn to respect the will of the majority who voted for the presumptive 17th President and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio in the recent national and local elections.
“I appeal to those who keep on pursuing this divisiveness, the people have spoken. The Filipino people have spoken, and an overwhelming majority has voted President-elect Bongbong Marcos and Vice President-elect Inday Sara Duterte into office as President and Vice President. Learn to respect the will of the Filipino people,” he said.
Earlier, in a 75-page petition, the Supreme Court was asked to overturn the resolution of the Commission on Elections dismissing the disqualification case against Marcos Jr.
The petitioners include Martial Law survivors, religious and youth rights advocates, and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses
and Martial Law (Carmma).
Lawyer Howie Calleja, the petitioners’ legal counsel, stressed their group is mindful of the duty of Congress to convene and proclaim a president.
“However, the Supreme Court likewise has a duty to uphold the rule of law regardless of any political exercise or issue. We trust the integrity of all the justices of the Supreme Court and believe in their independence,” Calleja said as he expressed hope for an immediate resolution to the case.
Earlier, human rights advocates led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano asked the High Court to issue a restraining order enjoining and restraining Congress from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos and proclaiming him as president following the May 9 polls.
Rodriguez said the Marcos camp has yet to receive a copy of the petitions. He pointed out that the disqualification cases were already dismissed unanimously by the Commission on Elections, both at the division level and by the poll body en banc.
Lakas-CMD co-chairman Sen. Bong Revilla also urged the people to give the incoming administration of Marcos Jr. a chance to serve.
Revilla, who supported the former senator’s presidential bid, believes the election results are a clear expression of the Filipinos’ aspirations for Marcos’ leadership and call for unity.
“This is the very reason why his administration must be given a chance,” Revilla said.
The House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is all set for the canvassing of votes for President and Vice President.
The House is expected to elect its members, together with the senators who will compose the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) when Congress resumes session on Monday, May 23.
The canvassing is slated on Tuesday, May 24, as both House and Senate must adopt a resolution first convening Congress in a joint session to form the NBOC, which will count the votes and proclaim the winners in the polls as the law provides.
Velasco maintained his appeal to fellow legislators to exercise prudence and diligence as Congress sits as the NBOC.
“As Members of Congress, it is our constitutional mandate to receive and canvass the votes for the two highest leaders of our country—our next President and Vice President,” he said.
“May we all undertake this task with a profound, and even critical, awareness that we are entrusted by the Filipino people with this duty to ensure that our choice of leaders is the legitimate expression of the will of our people,” he added.
Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, Deputy Speaker Juan Pablo Bondoc, and Reps Johnny Pimentel, Manuel Jose Dalipe, Jesus Crispin Remulla, Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer, Stella Luz Quimbo, and Sharon Garin also attended the briefing.