Cases vs Marcos, Tulfo’s 2022 bid raffled to Comelec 2nd Division

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — Two more cases filed against Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.’s presidential bid and one petition against broadcaster Raffy Tulfo’s Senate run will be decided by the second division of the Commission on Elections.

The division manned by Commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho, Jr. have also been tasked to handle the petition to cancel Marcos’ candidacy filed by his namesake and fellow aspirant Tiburcio Marcos, as well as the request by independent presidential bet Danilo Lihaylihay to declare the former senator a nuisance candidate, a check with Comelec’s Office of the Clerk of the Commission showed.

The division has started tackling the first petition against Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC), which was filed by human rights defenders represented by lawyer Theodore Te. They said Marcos’ wrongly claimed in his COC that he has never been found liable for an offense which carries a penalty of “perpetual disqualification” from any government post, even though he was convicted for violating the Tax Code which specifically metes such a penalty.

READ: Marcos camp taps Estelito Mendoza in candidacy cancellation bids

The son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was convicted for not filing his income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.

Last week, the commissioners gave more time for the Marcos camp to file its response to the petition, which Te’s camp opposed. Te said the extension had no basis and amounted to grave abuse of discretion, as Comelec's internal rules stated that the five-day period to answer is "non-extendible."

RELATED: Group opposing Marcos' 2022 bid seeks probe into undue 'insider knowledge' of his camp on Comelec decision

Meanwhile, the poll body has not yet acted on the disqualification case filed by the group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law or CARMMA, a group of survivors of abuses during the older Marcos' regime.

There are currently four petitions opposing Marcos’ 2022 bid.

Meanwhile, the petition to cancel Tulfo’s COC also landed on the Second Division’s desk. It was filed by Julieta Pearson, who claims to be the legal wife of the TV host. In the complaint, Pearson said Tulfo made a false claim in his COC where he named ACT CIS Party-list Representative Jocelyn Tulfo as his spouse.

The second division is lacking a third member as newly appointed Commissioner Rey Bulay has not yet officially joined the poll body.

The division is expected to rule on the cases within December, but their decision may still be appealed to the Comelec en banc and later, to the Supreme Court if any of the parties are not satisfied with the ruling. 

Meanwhile, Kho is among 10 applicants for a vacant post as associate justice in the high court ahead of the end of his term in Comelec by February 2022.