'Unaffected': Presidential aspirants react to Comelec decision on petition vs. Marcos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 17) — Some presidential aspirants were unfazed by the decision of the Commission on Elections second division on Monday to junk a petition to cancel the candidacy of their fellow hopeful Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, the son and namesake of the country's late dictator.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who has been leading recent pre-election surveys alongside Marcos, said she was unaffected, noting that the outcome of the latter's disqualification cases has nothing to do with her bid for the presidency.

"Lagi naming sinasabi na 'yung laban ng aking kandidatura, hindi naman nakadepende saka naka-base sa galaw ng ibang mga kandidato," Robredo said. "Whatever the decision will be, sige lang tayo."

[Translation: As we always say, my candidacy does not depend or is not based on the move of the other candidates. Whatever the decision will be, we'll just keep on going.]

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said it was best that they respect the decision of the poll body since it is "the rule of law."

"Comelec has the mandate to decide on any case that falls under its jurisdiction, and the petition to disqualify ex-Senator Marcos is one such case," he said.

Presidential hopeful and Senator Manny Pacquiao distanced himself from the ruling "because I am not a party to the case."

"Let's leave it at that. Kung ano [mang] plano ng magkabilang panig sa kasong ito ay abangan na lang po natin [Whatever the plans of both parties are regarding this case, we'll just have to wait and see]," he said.

Leody De Guzman, meanwhile, opposed the dismissal of the case, as he expressed concern that the same would happen to the other petitions filed against Marcos.

He said the decision shows the need for electoral and political reforms, particularly on the prohibition on political dynasties and the participation of the people in government matters that will enable them to be responsible voters.

De Guzman, a labor leader, also said the Comelec's ruling was an "insult" to workers who are properly paying their taxes.

A group of civic leaders filed a petition to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy on the ground of false material representations. These include his assertion that he could run for president despite his 1995 conviction by a Quezon City court over his multiple failures to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.

The petition was dismissed by the poll body's second division, led by commissioners Socorro Inting, Antonio Kho, Jr, and Rey Bulay, over lack of grounds.

The civic group's lead counsel Theodore Te said they will lodge a motion for reconsideration with the Comelec en banc.

READ: Comelec division denies petition to cancel Marcos' presidential bid

The Marcos camp said "the petitioners' mere creativity for writing and wanting what is not written in the law... is way too frivolous and unmeritorious to override the basic concepts of the Constitution."

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Marcos' running mate, welcomed the decision, which she said is "an opportunity for the Filipino people to express their will in fair and free elections."