The camp of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will seek the dismissal of the petitions filed against him before the Supreme Court, his lawyer said on Friday.
Former Justice Minister Estelito Mendoza said that would be the content of the comment that the Supreme Court ordered Marcos, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Congress to submit within 15 days on a petition seeking a reversal of the poll body’s ruling that affirmed the former senator’s certificate of candidacy.
“A comment is required to be filed on the petition and therefore in the comment, you may expect that we will be asking for the dismissal of the petition,” Mendoza said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“You must remember, this issue of disqualification was ruled upon by the Comelec division and, later on, it was ruled upon by the Comelec en banc, so you already have two rulings affirming the qualification of BBM (Marcos),” he added.
Two petitions filed before the Supreme Court also wanted the Senate and House of Representatives to stop canvassing the votes cast for Marcos.
But Mendoza reiterated that the high court has no jurisdiction to stop the canvassing and the proclamation of the newly elected president “because the terms of the Constitution are explicit and clear.”
He said the Constitution provides that the incumbent president should end his term six years after his assumption of office.
“That is, President Duterte, his term of office shall end in six years, that is provided in the Constitution and there is no way of stopping it and [Mr.Duterte] has explicitly acknowledged also that he will abide by the Constitution,” he said.
He pointed out that the term of the new president “is explicitly also provided that it shall start on the 30th day of June following the elections.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon have said there would be a constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court orders Congress to stop the canvassing of votes, but while the high court sought comments on the two pending petitions, it also explicitly said the orders did not necessarily mean it would take jurisdiction of the two cases.
But veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said a constitutional crisis would happen only if Congress does not follow a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court.
“In the event that such TRO is issued by the Supreme Court, there will only be constitutional crisis if Congress will not honor the TRO,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer.
But Macalintal conceded that the 15-day period of the Supreme Court order is “not inextendible” and if the respondents received the order on May 20, they have until June 4 to file their comment.
He added that since the period is not inextendible, they could ask for a 30-day extension, or until July 4, to comment as usually done by some respondents and by that time Marcos would have already been proclaimed, taken his oath and assumed office.
“That’s why [lawyer Theodore] Te, counsel of complainants, is hoping that the 15-day period be inextendible,” he said.
Even before the election on May 9, both houses of Congress, which will jointly serve as the National Board of Canvassers for president and vice president, scheduled the canvassing to start on May 23.
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