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Comelec First Division junks consolidated DQ cases vs. Marcos Jr. due to 'lack of merit'; one last DQ case pending before Second Division

By NICK GARCIA Published Feb 10, 2022 9:07 pm

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division junked the consolidated three disqualification cases against Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. due to "lack of merit," spokesman James Jimenez announced on Jan. 10.

"The consolidated petitions of Ilagan v. Marcos Jr., Akbayan v. Marcos Jr., and Mangelen v. Marcos Jr. have been dismissed for lack of merit, by the COMELEC's 1st Division," Jimenez wrote in a tweet.

The poll body has yet to release the resolution as of press time.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who had released her separate opinion on the consolidated cases, retired on Feb. 2, thereby excluding her vote in the recent ruling. Guanzon said she voted to disqualify Marcos Jr. for committing a crime of moral turpitude as he failed to file his income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.

Commissioner Aimee Ferolino is in charge of penning the resolution originally intended for a Jan. 17 release, but has been pushed back after Comelec staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Days before her retirement, Guanzon had accused Ferolino of deliberately delaying the promulgation of the ruling so when her last day in office comes, her vote won't be counted.

At the time, Ferolino argued that she needed more time to rule on a “complex and highly rated” case, while also accusing Guanzon of "trying to influence" her decision.

Comelec's Second Division on Jan. 17 junked the petition to cancel Marcos Jr.'s certificate of candidacy, arguing that there's no material misrepresentation in his COC.

Prior to that, the polly body had denied two other petitions: one that sought to cancel his COC for being a supposed impostor, and another that sought to declare him as a nuisance candidate.

With the dismissals, the one remaining disqualification case against the late dictator that remains pending is the one filed by Margarita Salandanan, a Martial Law victim from La Union, the bailiwick of the Marcoses, on behalf of the Pudno Nga Ilokano (Ang Totoong Ilokano) group.

The group is represented by Christian Monsod, a framer of the 1987 Constitution who's also a former Comelec chairman.

Like the previous disqualification cases, the petitioners cited Marcos Jr.'s tax conviction.

But the Monsod-led group raised a different argument, saying Marcos Jr. must be disqualified because he's not qualified as a voter, as he already lost his right to suffrage due to his tax conviction.

In the 1987 Constitution, being a registered voter is among the qualifications needed for an aspiring presidential candidate.