Comelec junks petition to declare Bongbong Marcos a nuisance bet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed one of the seven petitions filed to bar former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. from seeking the country's highest post.

In a decision dated Dec. 16, the Comelec Second Division said it denied the petition against Marcos, which sought to declare him as a nuisance candidate.

READ: LIST: Petitions against Bongbong Marcos' 2022 presidential bid

Filed by a fellow presidential aspirant Danilo Lihaylihay, the division said the former failed to submit a copy of Marcos' certificate of candidacy (COC).

Lihaylihay's evidence is "grossly insufficient considering that the COC it sought to cancel was not even attached to the petition."

"It pays to ask, how could we cancel something which is not found in the records of this case?" the decision read, signed by presiding commissioner Socorro Inting.

"On the contrary, Respondent has sufficiently established that he actually has a bona fide intention to run for President of the country," it said.

The decision even noted that Marcos, who has been leading presidential surveys, served as vice governor, governor, and representative of Ilocos Norte. The son of the late dictator also secured a seat in the Senate, and was a vice presidential candidate in 2016.

"In stark contrast to what Petitioner attempts to depict, the circumstances obtaining in this case actually demonstrate that Respondent has a bona fide intention to run for President of the country," it said.

There are still four disqualification petitions and two seeking to cancel Marcos' COC, which are all based on the presidential aspirant's conviction for not filing his income tax returns for four years.

Reacting to the poll body's decision, the camp of Marcos said "the dismissal of the case is expected".

In an issued statement, Marcos' spokesperson Attorney Victor Rodriguez said the case was among "the multiple nuisance petitions" filed against the standard bearer of the Partdo Federal ng Pilipinas.

"We have always maintained that there exist no legal basis to cancel the certificate of candidacy nor disqualify UniTeam presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos and that elections are won and settled through the ballots on election day not by maliciously filing nuisance petitions," he said.

CNN Philippines correspondent Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.