High Court ruling clears way for Marcos inauguration on Thursday
The Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 13-0 to dismiss the petition filed by martial law victims seeking to disqualify President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. because he was convicted for failing to file income tax returns and to pay income taxes from 1982 to 1985.
The vote cleared the way for his becoming the country’s 17th President on June 30.
The Court’s Public Information Office chief and spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the decision was reached during yesterday’s regular en banc session of the 15-member bench, two days before Marcos’s inauguration at the National Museum grounds in Manila.
“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,” the SC said, in a decision written by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda.
The Court said Marcos’s certificate of candidacy, which was valid and in accord with the pertinent law, was “rightfully upheld” by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Hosaka confirmed that Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo will administer the oath of office of the newly-elected President.
Earlier, Marcos through his lawyer Estelito Mendoza sought the dismissal of the petition on the grounds that the Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case.
Marcos asserted that it is only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that has jurisdiction to inquire into his eligibility.
Marcos said the petition must be dismissed for lack of merit since he did not commit any material misrepresentation in his COC, contrary to the claim of the petitioners, that would warrant his disqualification from seeking the presidency.
The petition filed Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano sough to set aside the Jan. 17, 2022 and May 10, 2022 resolutions of the Commission on Elections, which dismissed for lack of merit the petition they filed against Marcos, for the denial or cancellation of his certificate of candidacy for the position of President, and denying their motion for partial reconsideration, respectively.
A similar petition filed by martial law survivors led by Satur Ocampo and Bonifacio Ilagan, which was consolidated with the Buenafe et al petition, was also dismissed.
The petition was anchored on Marcos’s alleged failure to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 while he was a public official in Ilocos Norte.
The petitioners argued that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it gave weight to Marcos’s material representation that he is eligible for the position of President and that he has not been convicted of a crime punished with the penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office.
Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul B. Inting and Associate Justice Antonio Kho, Jr. did not take part in the deliberations.
Justice Inting said his sibling Socorro B. Inting is the incumbent Commission on Elections commissioner while Justice Kho Jr. is a former Comelec commissioner.