Bongbong Marcos qualified to be elected to office – SC

FIGHT FAR FROM OVER Lawyer Howard Calleja (second from left), former lawmaker Satur Ocampo (second from right), and martial law survivors file a petition for certiorari to appeal the decision of the Commission on Elections en banc dismissing the disqualification petition against Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in this May 18 photo. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The “gods of Padre Faura” have cleared the way for Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inauguration as the 17th president of the Philippines.

Voting 13-0 with two abstentions, the Supreme Court threw out the legal challenges to Marcos Jr.’s presidential candidacy, delivering a blow to the victims of rights violations during the regime of his father, the late deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The high court issued the decision during its weekly en banc session on Tuesday, or two days before Marcos Jr. is sworn in. Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has accepted the invitation to administer the president-elect’s oath of office in a ceremony at the National Museum.

The justices upheld the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissing two petitions separately filed by martial law survivors and rights activists seeking Marcos Jr.’s disqualification on the basis of his tax evasion conviction in 1995.

Reacting to the tribunal’s vote, playwright-activist Bonifacio Ilagan said resistance to what he called the erosion of law in the country would continue.

Ilagan, who heads the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law, one of the petitioners, said he and his colleagues were not “surprised that the high court has opted to swim with the tide of acquiescence to a Marcos rehabilitation, notwithstanding all the historical distortions and false narratives that made the dictator’s son delude the people.”

Still, Ilagan said, it was “difficult to comprehend that the tribunal decided on merit that Marcos Jr. did not disobey the law by wilfully not paying taxes, did not commit moral turpitude, and could go scot-free, being now above the law.”

House Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro told the Inquirer that despite the “not surprising” decision, “we still hope that the Supreme Court would uphold its independence and initiative, especially on issues and cases involving human rights, welfare of consumers, and our country’s sovereignty.”

In a statement released by its Public Information Office (PIO), the Supreme Court said “the exercise of its power to decide the present controversy led [it] to no other conclusion but that respondent Marcos Jr. is qualified to run for and be elected to public office.”

“Likewise, his COC (certificate of candidacy), being valid and in accord with the pertinent law, was rightfully upheld by the Comelec,” it said.

The high court did not provide a copy of the decision written by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda.

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