By Claire Morales True
MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed one of the seven petitions filed seeking to bar former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from seeking the country’s highest post.
Marcos, who is leading all presidential aspirants in surveys together with runningmate Davao City Mayor Sara Duiterte, is not yet off the hook, however, as six other petitions against his presidential bid are still pending before the Comelec – two petitions to cancel his candidacy and four disqualification cases.
In its seven-page decision dated Dec. 16, the Comelec Second Division said it denied the petition against Marcos which was filed by a fellow presidential aspirant Danilo Lihaylihay seeking to declare Marcos as a nuisance candidate
In junking the petition, the Comelec second division said Lihaylihay failed to present proof that Marcos could be considered a nuisance as he even failed to submit a copy of Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC).
The poll body said Marcos’ candidacy did not fall under any of the three broad categories of nuisance candidates: one who has filed a candidacy to throw the election process in mockery or disrepute, cause confusion among voters by the similarity of names, or that some acts or circumstances clearly demonstrate the lack of a bona fide intention to run for office.
“Petitioner utterly failed to demonstrate to the Commission (2nd Division) that Respondent falls in any of the classifications listed,” stated the decision promulgated on December 16 and penned by Commissioner Socorro Inting.
The poll body said there was no act or circumstance that Marcos has no bona fide intention to run for president as he previously served as vice governor, governor, representative of Ilocos Norte, and senator, and was a candidate for vice president in the 2016 polls.
“In stark contrast to what Petitioner attempts to depict, the circumstances obtained in this case actually demonstrate that Respondent has a bona fide intention to run for President of the country,” it added
Lihaylihay’s petition had claimed that Marcos seeks to put the election process in mockery or disrepute “because his purpose was mainly to have his family’s political comeback in Malacañang,” but the poll body dismissed this as “sweeping statements” and “unfounded claims.”
“No inference can possibly be made that respondent’s act of filing his COC for president puts the election process in mockery or disrepute,” Comelec’s 2nd Division said.
Lihaylihay’s evidence is “grossly insufficient considering that the COC it sought to cancel was not even attached to the petition,” the division stated in its ruling.
“It pays to ask, how could we cancel something which is not found in the records of this case?” the decision signed by presiding commissioner Socorro Inting stated.
“On the contrary, Respondent has sufficiently established that he actually has a bona fide intention to run for President of the country,” it said.
The decision even noted that Marcos, who has been leading presidential surveys, served elective posts such as vice governor, governor, and representative of Ilocos Norte. The son of the late dictator also won a seat in the Senate, and was a vice presidential candidate in 2016.
“In stark contrast to what Petitioner attempts to depict, the circumstances obtaining in this case actually demonstrate that Respondent has a bona fide intention to run for President of the country,” it said.
Four disqualification petitions against Marcos are anchored on the presidential aspirant’s conviction for not filing his income tax returns for four years, among others.