SC asked to stop Senate, House from canvassing votes for ‘Bongbong’ Marcos

Published May 17, 2022, 1:20 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court (SC) has been asked to stop the Senate and the House of Representatives from canvassing the votes for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and proclaiming him, should he get the highest number of votes, as the 17th President of the country.

The plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO) was contained in a petition filed by a group against Marcos, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Senate and the House of Representatives.

As of Friday afternoon, May 13, Marcos was on top of the partial and unofficial count of votes with 31,104,175 votes based on data from the Comelec Transparency Media Server.

His running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, also maintained a huge lead among other vice presidential candidates with 31,561,948 votes as of May 13.

A report stated that the Senate and the House of Representatives will canvass the votes for president and vice president on May 24 until May 27.

The petition, which was filed late Monday afternoon, May 16, challenged the May 10, 2022 resolution of the Comelec en banc (full commission) which ruled against the disqualification of Marcos in the last May 9 presidential election.

The petitioners were Fr. Christian B. Buenafe, Fides M. Lim, Ma. Edeliza P. Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland C. Vibal, and Josephine Lascano.

The SC has no full court session today, May 17. Under the rules, the petition has to be raffled to a justice who will be the justice-in-charge of the case (ponente or writer of the decision or resolution).

Even without a session, however, the justice-in-charge may recommend action on the plea for TRO and with the approval of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, the restraining order may be issued.

The TRO, however, would be subject to confirmation by the majority of the members of the SC in their immediately following full court session. If confirmed, the TRO stays for enforcement.

The petitioners asked the SC to cancel and declare void ab initio (void from the beginning) the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President that was filed by Marcos last October, and to declare that he has never been a candidate in the 2022 National Elections.

“The respondent Comelec failed to carry out its mandate to enforce and administer the laws relating to the conduct of elections when it refused, despite basis, to exercise its duty to cancel respondent Marcos Jr.’s COC in view of the latter’s material misrepresentations …,” they alleged.

They claimed that Marcos allegedly attempted to mislead the electorate because he made misrepresentations in his COC.

They alleged that Marcos has been a public officer for more than 25 years and that he was charged in eight criminal tax cases before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 105 for violating the National Internal Revenue code (NIRC) of 1977, on his failure to file income tax returns for 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985.

They told the SC that the RTC, among other convictions, sentenced Marcos to nine years imprisonment for failure to pay his income tax returns and to pay the taxes for the years 1982 until 1985.

They said that Marcos then appealed the case before the Court of Appeals (CA). On Oct. 31, 1997, the CA affirmed Marcos’ conviction beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 45 of the NIRC related to his failure to file income tax returns for the taxable years 1982 to 1985, they also said.

They pointed out that Marcos withdrew his petition filed before the SC.

“For all intents and purposes, but more relevantly in relation to the cancellation of respondent Marcos Jr.’s Certificate of Candidacy for ‘President,’ Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. is a convicted criminal,” the petitioners said.

Published reports stated that Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia, reacting to the SC petition, said: “This is within their rights to seek redress to the High Court of something they believe is a valid justiciable controversy.”

Comelec acting Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco, on the other hand, said that until the SC issues an order, Congress would continue to perform its functions as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for President and Vice President.