MANILA — The camp of presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on Friday filed its response to one of the 5 petitions before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to block his candidacy in the 2022 polls.
In a 7-page answer, Marcos Jr., represented by legal counsel Estelito Mendoza, urged Comelec second division to dismiss the petition for cancellation of his certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by civic leaders, who accused him of material misrepresentation.
“[I]t is respectfully prayed that the petition be dismissed… A cursory reading of the petition will show that [it] is bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code," Marcos’ answer stated.
Section 74 of Batas Pambansa 881, also known as the Omnibus Election Code, enumerates the contents of an accomplished COC.
Petitioners had asserted Marcos committed false material representation for attesting on item 22 of his COC that he has not been found liable for any offense that carries the penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office.
Petitioners pointed out Marcos Jr. was found guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude, citing his tax case conviction by a Quezon City trial court in 1995, later affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA), in 1997.
In his answer, Marcos Jr. argued the CA ruling that acquitted him of non-payment of deficiency income taxes from 1982 up to 1985, and affirmed his conviction on non-filing of tax returns, bears no inference to or did not state that he has been found to have committed a crime involving moral turpitude.
Marcos Jr. argued he was previously elected to several positions in government namely, provincial governor of Ilocos Norte; member of the House of Representatives; and and member of the Senate.
Marcos Jr. said he fits all 5 qualifications for an aspirant to the top national post namely, a natural-born Filipino; registered voter; able to read and write; at least 40 years old; and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years preceding the elections.
Marcos Jr. is also asking the Comelec to schedule face-to-face oral arguments - not a virtual hearing - where he will be represented by Mendoza, who served as solicitor general during the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s regime.
The Comelec second division, which is handling the case, set a preliminary conference for the parties on Nov. 26.