(UPDATE) TWO days before President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. takes his formal oath of office as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines, the Supreme Court removed all legal barriers by junking petitions that sought his disqualification from seeking the country's highest post.
The Supreme Court en banc ruled unanimously to allow Marcos to sit as the legitimate president of the country as it affirmed the Jan. 17, 2022 and May 10, 2022 resolutions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), according to the Supreme Court Public Information Office.
The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda.
Two magistrates — Henry Paul Inting and Antonio Kho Jr. — took no part in the case.
Inting did not take part in the deliberations as his sibling is incumbent Comelec Commissioner Socorro Inting, while Kho Jr. is a former commissioner of the poll body.
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The petitioners, Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Delia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal and Josephine Lascano, assailed the Comelec resolutions, which dismissed for lack of merit the petitions against Marcos for the denial or cancelation of the latter's certificate of candidacy (COC) for the position of President of the Republic of the Philippines in the 2022 national elections, and denied subsequent motions for reconsideration.
Thus, they sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order against Congress from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos and proclaiming him as president pending resolution of the petitions before the tribunal.
Buenafe et. al. also asked the court to declare as void ab initio the COC filed by Marcos. They sought Marcos' disqualification based on his alleged failure to file his income tax returns (ITRs) when he was an official in Ilocos Norte.
On the other hand, the Marcos camp insisted on the right of Filipinos to choose their leaders and sought the dismissal of the petition that also asked for the cancellation of his COC.
“To allow the defeated and rejected candidate to take over is to disenfranchise the citizens representing 58.77 percent of the votes cast, without fault on their part,” it said.
The members of the tribunal, however, ruled that in the exercise of its power to decide the controversy led them to no other conclusion but that BBM is qualified to run for and be elected to public office.
According to the full court, Marcos' COC is valid and in accord with the pertinent law as ruled by the Comelec.
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