Martial law victims file petition to disqualify Marcos from 2022 presidential race

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To reject the petition to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the presidential race ‘is not just to disregard’ the law ‘but would be to reward convicted criminals for the evils and unjust acts they have committed,’ the petitioners say.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — Martial law victims and human rights advocates on Wednesday filed a fresh petition to disqualify former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from the 2022 presidential race.

In a 59-page petition, they called on the Commission on Elections to either disqualify the son and namesake of the late dictator or cancel his certificate of candidacy (COC).

The petitioners said Marcos’ conviction for failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 already “perpetually disqualifies” him from running for any public office.

They also noted that Marcos made “false material representations” in his COC by declaring that he was never found guilty of any offense which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

His false statement, they said, is “more than sufficient ground” for the Comelec to declare him ineligible to join the presidential race.

To reject the petition to disqualify Marcos “is not just to disregard an express provision of the law, but, in no uncertain terms, would be to reward convicted criminals for the evils and unjust acts they have committed,” the petitioners added.

They also noted that historical revisionism on the abuses and corruption committed during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. may be exacerbated should his son be elected to the highest post in government.

Fatal mistake?

Election lawyer Emil Marañon, however, said the petitioners made a “fatal mistake” when they combined appeals for Marcos’ disqualification and for the cancellation of his COC, which are two different remedies.

According to Comelec rules, a petition to deny due course or to cancel a COC is based on the claim that an aspirant made false statements therein.

Meanwhile, disqualification covers, among others, individuals "who committed any act declared by law to be grounds for disqualification," including a crime involving moral turpitude.

“Combining petitions to deny due course and disqualification in one petition is a ground for summary dismissal,” Marañon wrote in a tweet.

He also pointed out that the period to file petitions to deny or cancel a COC already lapsed last Nov. 1.

“As is, the case is dismissible," Marañon stated. "The only cure for this is to withdraw the petition, redrafted as a pure disqualification case and refiled as soon as possible.”

Marañon was one of Vice President Leni Robredo's lawyers in the poll protest case filed by Marcos after losing in the 2016 vice presidential race.

Eighteen people filed the petition to disqualify Bongbong Marcos, including Bonifacio Ilagan, Saturnino Ocampo, Maria Carolina Araullo, and other members of the group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMA).

Other rights groups filed similar petitions. The first plea to cancel Marcos’ COC was raffled off to the Comelec’s second division.

The Marcos camp said it was nothing but a “predictable nuisance petition.”

On Tuesday, Marcos confirmed that presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is his running mate in the elections.