Marcos camp, 2 petitioners given until Sunday noon to file final points on disqualification case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 7)— The First Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gave the camps involved in two petitions to disqualify presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. until Sunday noon to file their final answers to the pending cases.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon announced during the Friday pre-conference on the petitions that Akbayan, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), and Marcos only have 48 hours to submit their respective memoranda before the division submits the cases for resolution.

Delays marred Comelec's historic airing of the pre-conference for three petitions blocking the former senator's presidential run. Guanzon set the proceedings at 9 a.m. for the lawyers of Marcos and of Akbayan, CARMMA, and petitioner Abubakar Mangelen to agree on details of the case and to mark evidence.

However, they were able to start past 10:30 a.m., with the former senator a no-show despite an order from the division for him to attend either physically or virtually.

Guanzon demanded a medical certificate to justify his absence.

"Why don't you ask your client to go on Zoom? Even if he's in isolation he can have a laptop or a phone," she said.

READ: Bongbong Marcos in isolation after exposure to COVID-positive staff; sorry for skipping Comelec hearing

The son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos reportedly came in contact with at least two persons who eventually tested positive for COVID-19: his chief-of-staff Vic Rodriguez and his security escort.

During the stipulations, the Marcos camp initially did not want to agree that their client was convicted for non-filing of income tax returns (ITRs) until it was pointed out that there are court records on this.

That guilty verdict from a Quezon City court which was upheld by the Court of Appeals is the basis of the three petitions, which argue that such crime is punished with a perpetual ban from public office given that Marcos was vice governor and eventually, governor of Ilocos Norte when he failed to file his ITRs from 1982 to 1985.

The parties did not agree on whether or not Marcos has paid the penalties and deficiency taxes. Petitioners said the Quezon City court had no record of payment, but the Marcos camp insisted that they have a certification from the Bureau of Internal Revenue as proof of settlement.

At the end of the live proceedings, Guanzon instructed all parties to file their memoranda or final replies via email. The period is shorter than the usual three-day window, and is well below Marcos' request for 15 days.

"It's not necessary to have 15 days unless you want to delay your case," Guanzon said.

The Akbayan and CARMMA petitions have been consolidated, meaning the division will only issue one decision for both cases. Meanwhile, the case filed by Mangelen has been immediately submitted for decision because neither he nor his lawyer showed up at Friday's event.

There is a fourth disqualification case against Marcos pending before the Second Division.

LIST: Petitions against Bongbong Marcos' 2022 presidential bid