By Evelyn Macairan | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should dismiss outright the petition that sought the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy (COC) because he is qualified to run for president.
In a statement, Marcos, through his legal counsel Estelito Mendoza, said that this was their position in a five-page answer they submitted to the Comelec. Aside from their request for outright dismissal of the petition against Marcos, they also asked for the petition to be discussed in face-to-face argument and not through virtual or video conferencing.
The case stemmed from the petition filed by a group led by Fr. Christian Buenafe who claimed that Marcos could not run for public office because he was convicted by a Quezon City court for his multiple failure to file income tax returns 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 countered that the petition 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.
Taking into account the qualifications of the various elective positions he has been elected to and occupied as enumerated, he said “it is of judicial notice that the respondent has all the qualifications of a president under Section 2, Article VII of the Constitution and consequently there can be no violation of Section 78 in relation of Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code upon which a petition such as the one now before the commission.”
Mendoza said the former senator did not commit a crime involving moral turpitude.
“(What) is clear and certainly beyond dispute is that the CA (Court of Appeals) decision does not, and no inference can be made from its decision that (Marcos), BBM (Bongbong Marcos) in this case, has been found by the CA of committing a crime involving moral turpitude,” he added.