Join the campaign (Learn More)

The Manila Times : DQ cases vs BBM may be scrapped – expert

News & Interviews
9 January 2022

By Javier Joe Ismael | The Manila Times

LAWYER and former dean of Ateneo de Manila School of Government Tony La Viña said on Saturday that it was highly probable that the disqualification cases against presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. would be junked.

"There is also a strong argument why they should be dismissed. The ultimate one is a political question. Especially a leading candidate — you should not disqualify a leading candidate that seems to have the support of many people, because you are depriving the people of their choice — that is political law 101 — that certain things should be decided by the people and not by the courts," La Viña said in a television interview.

La Viña said that this political doctrine is being discussed in law schools in relation to disqualification cases in national elections.

"I teach Constitutional law, political law and election law. When I teach this, I always tell my students, when you look at the disqualification cases, you look at the law of course, and the jurisprudence," he said.

La Viña believes that the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court would most likely let the people decide on the matter through their votes.

"I'm inclined to think that most likely Bongbong Marcos will prevail in the disqualification cases, because more than anything — the political question doctrine. The court cannot decide this, it should be the people that should decide this," La Viña added.

Another legal argument for Marcos is that he met all the qualifications of a presidential candidate stated in the Constitution.

"The qualifications for president are laid down in the Constitution and it's very simple. A voter, a citizen, a natural born citizen, 40 years, can read and write. That's just very, very basic. Now, that goes down to the question: is he a voter? Can he be considered a qualified voter, because that's where the disqualifications can come in," La Viña said.

Besides La Viña, a number of law experts including Emmanuel Samonte Tipon, a Filipino lawyer based in the United States and former dean of the Northwestern University College of Law, Ateneo law professor and former justice secretary Alberto Agra, and University of Sto. Tomas College of Law Dean Nilo Divina have opined that the seven disqualification cases filed against Marcos were weak or lacking in legal basis.