The presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is the most legally-contested in recent election history, with five separate cases seeking to bar him from entering the 2022 presidential race, Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez said Friday.
Five petitions are currently before the Comelec to prevent Marcos’ participation in the race: Buenafe, et al vs. Marcos - Petition to cancel certificate of candidacy (COC); Bautista, et al vs. Marcos - Petition to cancel COC (to join Buenafe petition); Tiburcio Marcos vs. Marcos - Petition to cancel COC; Danilo Lihay-Lihay vs. Marcos - Petition to declare as nuisance candidate; and Ilagan, et al vs. Marcos- Petition to disqualify.
Currently, only the Buenafe et al petition has been elevated to the Comelec division level.
Supporters of Marcos Jr. held a protest rally on Thursday morning in front of the Comelec Central Visayas office in Cebu City to denounce the petitions filed against the former senator.
The marchers said they were representing various groups opposed to the “dirty tactics being utilized by some desperate camps who are afraid that a Marcos presidency will bring out the true potential of the nation.”
Jimenez said the number of cases filed vs Marcos’ candidacy was the most he has seen in recent memory.
“In 2016 we didn’t see this many (cases),” the Comelec spokesperson said, alluding to the string of cases filed against 2016 presidential bet Grace Poe.
The group, who identified themselves as members of the “Cebuanos Kontra DQ,” gathered at Plaza Independencia then marched to the Comelec office, where they held a small program and lit red candles to symbolize their resentment.
“The purpose of this gathering is to voice our resistance to the disqualification cases being lodged against BBM. We also wanted a fair hearing by the Comelec and not settle this by technicality. The voice of the sovereign people must not be muted and thwarted,” former Cebu City Councilor Erik Espina said in a statement.
Espina said he hopes that their indignation protest will be replicated in other provinces and cities in time for the Comelec hearing on Nov. 26.
A petition for the cancellation of Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (CoC) was initially filed on November 2 by the group Kapatid.
Another petition to supplement the first was also filed on November 8, which was followed by a third one from former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and his camp.
However, Marcos’ Chief of Staff, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, branded the petitions as “nuisance and part of cheap political gimmicks from the same group of people who do not want the country to move ahead and get out of the pandemic.”
“They refuse to elevate the level of political discourse, getting stuck to dirty campaigning, character assassination, and mudslinging,” he said.
Rodriguez emphasized that the Comelec has no jurisdiction to review, amend, modify or nullify Decisions of the Court of Appeals.
“Elections are fought and won on Election Day through the ballots, and surveys or voters’ test polls are the gauge of the candidates’ standing and a guide to win the electorate,” he said.