Supreme Court Hears Pleas to Void Marcos Win, What's Next?

How to make sense of legalities.
Photo/s: Jam Sta Rosa, Agence France-Presse

Two groups have asked the Supreme Court to void the landslide victory of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. using two different remedies with distinct outcomes, a Comelec commissioner said Thursday.

The first petition filed by civic leaders sought to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy while the second, filed by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), wants the Supreme Court to disqualify Marcos from the presidential race.

The two petitions were forwarded to the high tribunal after they were denied at the Comelec level.

Disqualification is different from cancellation of candidacy now that election results are being counted, said Comelec commissioner George Garcia, who is also an election lawyer.

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Putting it in the context of basketball, Garcia said cancellation of candidacy is like when a minor played in league for adults. If the player is proven to be underaged, he is therefore unqualified to play and can't play anymore.

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In Marcos' case, if he wins the election and his candidacy gets cancelled, "tanggal siya at ang uupo ay second placer, whoever will get the highest number of votes after sa kanya," Garcia told TeleRadyo.

"Ang sabi ng Supreme Court, Fermin versus Comelec, Tagolino versus Comelec, dahil 'di siya naging kandidato, so to speak."

Second to Marcos in the presidential race is Vice President Leni Robredo, who got some 14.8 million votes, less than half of his 31 million.

In the case of disqualification, Garcia likened it to a basketball player who gets thrown out of the court after striking a rival player. While the player is disqualified, it doesn't void him being a basketball player and can still play in other games.

If Marcos wins the election and the Supreme Court rules for his disqualification, the next president shall be decided "by succession." If a mayor gets disqualified, the vice mayor gets to replace him, said Garcia.

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"Kasi kandidato naman siya e, kaya lang meron siyang na-violate. Therefore dahil sa may na-violate siya, kandidato pa rin siya, lahat ng boto sa kanya okay, kaya lang disqualified siya, ang uupo by succession."

Marcos' running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is the presumptive vice president with 31 million votes. 

But when does "vox populi, vox dei" ("the voice of the people is the voice of God”) apply, now that Filipino voters are done casting their vote?

"Sinasabi rin ng Korte Suprema na teka muna, kapag ang isang tao ay disqualified from the very start, then he is disqualified. The will of the people cannot prevail over the rule of law," said Garcia.

"Sa bandang huli d'yan babalansehin lahat... should the will of the people prevail or should a person disqualified from the very start, halimbawa lang po ma-determine nila, be removed from office?"

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