Marcos camp taps Estelito Mendoza in candidacy cancellation bids

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) — A veteran lawyer who defended martial law under Ferdinand Marcos will represent the late dictator's son and namesake in responding to petitions questioning his presidential bid.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, the spokesperson of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., said former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza "volunteered" to serve as Marcos' counsel in the petitions filed before the Commission on Elections.

A copy of Mendoza's notice of appearance was also issued to the media on Thursday morning.

The 91-year-old lawyer also previously got President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Sen. Bong Revilla, and former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile out of detention from their plunder cases.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez said Marcos was granted a seven-day extension by Comelec to respond to the first petition filed on Nov. 2 seeking to cancel his candidacy due to his tax conviction when he was vice governor and governor of Ilocos Norte. But Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the request for extension remains pending and more petitions have been filed against Marcos' candidacy.

Lawyer Theodore Te, counsel for the petitioners in the Nov. 2 bid, pointed out that Rule 23 Section 4(6) of the Comelec Rules of Procedure and Supreme Court stresses the "non-extendible" deadline within the five-day period to file an answer.

Marcos was initially given a Nov. 16 deadline to submit his verified answer to the first petition which was already raffled to the poll body's second division.

His camp repeatedly claimed that the plea was nothing but a "predictable nuisance petition."

Marcos is also facing at least two other petitions with the same premise surrounding his tax conviction. One was a petition-in-intervention by some tax professionals to join the Nov. 2 cancellation bid, while the other one was a petition for disqualification by martial law victims and rights advocates on Wednesday.

RELATED: More groups to file petitions vs Bongbong Marcos’ presidential bid 

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Rodriguez said these petitions, which were being filed "in trickles," prompted his team to ask for more time to study how to respond since a different remedy has to be applied for each petition.

"Parang sini-systematize nila paunti-unti," he pointed out. "Bakit di nila pagsabay-sabayin kung nagmamadali pala sila? Upon briefing, these are all trash petitions subalit kinailangan pa rin naming sumagot."

[Translation: They are systematizing how to file in trickles. Why don't they just file all at the same time if they are in a rush. Upon briefing, these are all trash petitions but we still have to answer.]