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The Manila Times : Another legal expert defends Marcos candidacy

News & Interviews
13 December 2021

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

THE camp of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the list of legal experts who declared that he is qualified to run for president continues to grow.

Seven petitions have been filed with the Commission on Elections seeking the cancellation of Marcos' certificate of candidacy (CoC).

Emmanuel Samonte Tipon, a Filipino lawyer based in the United States, said the petitions were "either weak or have no legal basis."

He practices federal law and is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court, New York and the Philippines.

Tipon, dean of Northwestern University College of Law, pointed to "flaws" in the petitions.

Marcos' camp said Tipon "wrote an opinion piece, which has provided solid legal arguments against the petitions seeking to cancel or deny due course to Marcos' CoC or that he be declared as a nuisance candidate."

Tipon saw "no serious question that Marcos meets the requirements under Article 7, Section 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution," the group said.

In defending Marcos' bid, Tipon cited the constitutional provision which reads: "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 (40) years of age on the day of the election and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten (10) years immediately preceding such election."

Tipon said Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, which states that "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 Constitution and therefore does not modify the eligibility requirements for the presidency.

He also believes that Marcos cannot be disqualified under Section 12 of the election code for having been sentenced to pay a fine for not filing income tax returns, since it is not 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," 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 in 2009, Tipon said.

In November, Ateneo law professor and former Justice secretary Alberto Agra said the disqualification case against Marcos has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.

Nilo Divina, University of Santo Tomas College of Law dean, also said the petition against Marcos' CoC will fail because it was defective in form and lacks sufficient legal basis.

Last week, over 12 lawyers from Ateneo who are members of the Fraternal Order of Utopia offered their free services to Marcos as part of his vote protection team.