Leni or Sara: Who will be president if Marcos disqualified?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2022 11:35 AM | Updated as of May 20 2022 11:55 AM

MANILA - Proving that the Commission on Elections committed grave abuse of discretion is an uphill battle, an analyst said Friday after the Supreme Court ordered all parties to comment on the disqualification cases of leading presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The Comelec through a division decision and later through an en banc ruling, dismissed the petition to deny due course or cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC). The groups filed a petition for certiorari on Monday, alleging the Comelec gravely abused its discretion.

Evidence has to be strong and has to prove there was "gross, willful, and capricious decision made by the Comelec," said lawyer Pacifico Agabin, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law.

"I think that if this case will be given due course, I think the SC can render a decision based on the evidence but of course you know very well that proving grave abuse of discretion is an uphill battle. It’s like swimming against the current in jurisprudence," he told ANC's Headstart.

Either Vice President Leni Robredo and her presumptive successor Sara Duterte-Carpio would sit as President if the Supreme Court grants the cancellation of Marcos' COC, Agabin said.

Various groups and individuals had filed petitions before Comelec alleging that Marcos Jr. committed material false representation when he claimed under oath in his COC that he was eligible and was not disqualified to run for president despite his tax conviction.

"If the 4th petition which is for the cancellation of the COC of BBM succeeds, then the highest number of valid votes namely that of Leni Robredo will be considered, that of Bongbong Marcos will be considered stray votes," he said. 
 
"The 2nd petition which is a combination of disqualification and violation of internal revenue code, if BBM is disqualified then the (presumptive) Vice President Sara Duterte will have to take over the position."

Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr greets supporters as he arrives at the campaign headquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022. The son of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos on May 11 claimed victory in the presidential election, vowing to be a leader 'for all Filipinos', his spokesman said. Ted Aljibe, AFP
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr greets supporters as he arrives at the campaign headquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022. The son of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos on May 11 claimed victory in the presidential election, vowing to be a leader "for all Filipinos", his spokesman said. Ted Aljibe, AFP

The SC has ordered all parties to comment within 15 days, on a petition for certiorari filed by a group of civic leaders led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, which seeks to overturn the ruling of the Comelec junking their plea to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy.

The same petition urged the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of frontrunner Marcos.

The high court has jurisdiction to issue a temporary restraining order on the canvassing of votes, Agabin said contrary to the claim of Marcos' lawyer Estelito Mendoza.

"The SC would have the jurisdiction to issue its order...under the expanded definition of judicial power under Article 8, Section 1 of our Constitution, the expanded power of SC gives them the power to determine whether there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack of jurisdiction," he said. "It can issue such order."

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