Politics

Comelec upholds decision giving Marcos extension on disqualification case

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THE PHILIPPINE poll body has denied a motion seeking recall of its order that gave the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos more time to answer a petition challenging his presidential candidacy.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Nov. 11 gave Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. an “inextendible period” of five days from the original Nov. 16 deadline to answer a petition seeking to cancel his candidacy papers for president.

The extension was challenged by petitioners in a Nov. 17 motion, asking the poll body to observe its own rules and uphold the mandatory and peremptory character of extendible periods.

In a three-page order dated Nov. 22, a Comelec division composed of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s appointees said it has the authority to suspend rules in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of cases.

The Comelec’s second division said it is allowed by rules to “cope with all situations without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired.”

The body said that a case is best tackled when all parties are able to present their respective claims and evidence that support their arguments.

The poll body’s second division, which is manned by Commissioners Socorro B. Inting and Antonio T. Kho, Jr., said the petitioners did not suffer any damage because Mr. Marcos filed his answer three days before the expiration of the extension given to him.

The first legal complaint against Mr. Marcos’ presidential run cited that he is ineligible to run for public office after a trial court convicted him in 1995 for failing to pay income taxes, a crime that bars the offender from any government post.

The complaint filed on Nov. 2 cited material misrepresentation in his candidacy papers when he wrote that he was eligible to hold public office.

A Comelec official earlier said the presidential run of Mr. Marcos, whose father’s two-decade rule was toppled by a popular uprising, is the most legally-contested in recent history.

Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos filed a petition before the Comelec to declare presidential aspirant Tiburcio “TVM” Villamor Marcos a nuisance candidate.

In his petition dated Oct. 13, the former senator said Tiburcio Marcos’ presidential candidacy would confuse voters. It is a mockery of the elections, he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza