Supreme Court upholds Bongbong Marcos' presidential run

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28)— The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously junked two petitions to disqualify and cancel the candidacy of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who is set to be inaugurated this week.

The decision on the petitions was confirmed by the SC’s Public Information Office on Tuesday.

The first petition, represented by lawyer Theodore Te, argued that Marcos' certificate of candidacy when he ran for president should be void on the basis that he lied about not committing any crimes when he was convicted by a Quezon City court for multiple instances of failing to file his income tax returns. The petitioners, led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, asked the magistrates to declare void ab initio Marcos’ certificate of candidacy, completely invalidating his presidential run and all the 31 million votes he received be labeled as stray votes.

The second petition filed by martial law survivors sought to disqualify Marcos from the presidential race for non-filing of ITRs.

Both petitions stressed 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.

Thirteen SC justices affirmed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dismiss the petitions.

"The Court held that in the exercise of its power to decide the present controversy led them to no other conclusion but that respondent Marcos Jr. is qualified to run for and be elected to public office. Likewise, his COC, being valid and in accord with the pertinent law, was rightfully upheld by the COMELEC," the court’s press release read.

Two justices did not take part in the deliberations. Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting is the sibling of incumbent Comelec commissioner Socorro Inting, while Justice Antonio Kho Jr. previously served as commissioner in the poll body.

Te’s group first filed the petition before the Commission on Elections in November 2021. It argued that Marcos committed a crime of moral turpitude and perjury for making false representations in his certificate of candidacy regarding his eligibility to seek the presidency despite his tax conviction.

It was, however, junked by the Comelec en banc right after the May 9 polls, leaving the petitioners to run to the high court as their last legal option.

The petitioners can file a motion for reconsideration before the high court issues its final decision.

Marcos’ party welcomes decision

Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas welcomed the development.

“This decision vindicates the position of the party that President Marcos was under no disqualification to run for president and therefore he did not lie in his certificate of candidacy,” it said in a statement.

Marcos, in his reply to the petition earlier this month, stressed he had “no intention to mislead, misinform, and deceive” the electorate. He also argued that it should be the Presidential Electoral Tribunal which can look into his eligibility since he already won the elections by a landslide.

Election law professor Atty. Alberto Agra, for his part, said the SC’s decision was a “logical follow through” of its earlier arguments on Marcos’ case.

“Also, if we recall, our incoming President was never adjudged to be imprisoned nor was he perpetually disqualified. The two elements of material misrepresentation are therefore absent -– there was no false and intentional misrepresentation,” he said.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario and Lara Tan contributed to this report.