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Manila Standard : US-based lawyer says DQ case vs Bongbong ‘weak’

News & Interviews
12 December 2021

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

A United States-based Filipino lawyer said presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is qualified to run for president in the 2022 elections on ground that the petitions to cancel his certificate of candidacy is either weak, or has no legal basis.

Lawyer Emmanuel Samonte Tipon, who is also the dean of Northwestern University College of Law, tackled the issues raised in each of the petition, which has now ballooned to seven in total.

Tipon wrote an opinion piece, which has provided solid legal arguments against the petitions seeking to cancel or deny due course to Marcos’ certificate of candidacy or that he be declared as a nuisance candidate.

Tipon stressed that there is no serious question that Marcos meets the requirements under Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which read, “No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.”

Tipon noted that Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which states: “Any person who has … been sentenced . . .for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office,” does not supplement the 1987 Constitution and therefore does not modify the eligibility requirements for the Presidency.

The law dean also believes that Marcos is not disqualified under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) for having been sentenced to pay only a fine for not filing income tax returns since it is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

“Marcos is not disqualified under OEC Sec. 12 because it does not define what constitutes a “crime involving moral turpitude.”

Therefore, like beauty, a “crime involving moral turpitude” is in the eye of the beholder. This makes the statute unconstitutionally void for vagueness and violates the due process provision of the Constitution,” Tipon said.

Besides, he said the Supreme Court “specifically held” that Marcos’ “failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude,” hence he was not disqualified from becoming an executor of his father’s will back in 2009.

The law dean also holds a firm belief that Marcos did not make any material misrepresentation when he marked No in Question 22 of the COC form. Tipon said, “Question 22 is not relevant to the eligibility requirements for President specified in the Constitution because a conviction for any offense does not automatically bar eligibility.”

Tipon has joined a growing number of legal heavyweights who’re neither supporters of Marcos, nor lawyering for him, who have rendered legal views and sees the petitions as without legal basis or mere nuisance.

Marcos, Jr. meanwhile said cooperatives are an essential element to develop effective agriculture programs for the entire country.

During the Agri 2022 online forum held recently, Marcos Jr. said he is a “great believer” of cooperatives as it is the one that can cascade the information to the farmers.

Marcos Jr. said farmers in other countries, such as England and South Korea,

are dependent on cooperatives as almost 50 percent of the agricultural products are being sold through coops.

He is also eyeing bringing into the national level the ‘sanghera system’ of Ilocos Norte, which he said is a democratic and organized system of cooperatives.

Marcos Jr. is the one who authored Senate Bill No. 3245 or “Cooperative Development Authority Charter Act,” which aims to streamline the Cooperative Development Authority to address the problems of cooperatives better and provide them with adequate funding, assistance, and supervision.