Petition to void candidacy of presumptive president Marcos reaches Supreme Court

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the apparent winner of the presidential race, has been elevated to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The petitioners, represented by former SC spokesperson Theodore Te, asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop Congress from canvassing votes for the presidential elections on May 24 pending decision.

It would effectively stop Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, from proclaiming Marcos as the next president should he be adjudged to be the one with the highest number of votes.

Civic leaders, led by Fr. Christian Buenafe of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and Fides Lim of political prisoners' group KAPATID, want the high court to cancel and declare void ab initio, or void from the beginning, Marcos’ certificate of candidacy. This would completely invalidate his presidential run and all the 31,104,175 million votes he received based on the unofficial count would be labeled as stray votes.

"A candidate's putative election victory cannot subsequently cure his ineligibility. Elections are more than just a numbers game such that an election victory cannot bypass election eligibility requirements," the petitioners wrote.

They stressed that the second-placer, whom they said is actually the first-placer among the qualified candidates, should be proclaimed president. Marcos' archrival, Vice President Leni Robredo, placed a far second in the race with 14.8 million votes.

The petition was first filed before the Commission on Elections in November 2021 arguing that Marcos committed a crime of moral turpitude and perjury for making false representations in his certificate of candidacy on his eligibility to seek the presidency despite his tax conviction.

The petitioners reiterated that Marcos was convicted by a Quezon City court for his multiple failures to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 when he was governor and vice governor of Ilocos Norte.

It was junked by the Comelec en banc right after the May 9 elections, leaving petitioners to run to the Supreme Court to use the final legal option to cancel Marcos' candidacy.

Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said the camp has yet to receive a copy of the plea.

But he issued this appeal: “Instead of pushing for your agenda of animosity, eh tulungan niyo na lang ho muna kami na pagtuunan at gamitin natin ang ating limitadong oras araw-araw.”

[Translation: Instead of pushing for your agenda of animosity, just help us focus and use our limited time wisely.]

“We're all limited to 24 hours in a day. Allow us to be more productive and learn to respect the will of the Filipino people,” he added.