IBP CamSur awaits Comelec decision in Marcos disqualification, cancellation of COC cases
By Mark A. Gomez
“We will do whatever is necessary.” This was the statement of lawyer Kiko Magistrado, president of Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Camarines Sur Chapter regarding the outcome of the disqualification and cancellation of the certificate of candidacy (COC) cases filed against presidential aspirant Bong Bong Marcos with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In an interview with Bicol Mail on Dec. 14 at the IBP Building in Naga City, Magistrado said that the decision of the Comelec must be just and should be based on the evidence and arguments presented by the both parties. He also said that they support the filing of cases against Marcos and that the petitioners should pursue them all the way to the Supreme Court if ever the Comelec decisions turned out to be unjust and in violation of the rule of law.
He said that they were surprised about the ruling of Comelec granting Marcos’ motion for extension to file answer/comments on the various petitions filed against the latter. According to him, based on their knowledge, Comelec is very strict in enforcing its rules, however, in the Marcos cases, the rules were eased by the poll body.
Magistrado explained that in terms of the effects of the pending cases against Marcos, the cancellation of COC has more weight than the disqualification case. If the Comelec decided in favor of the cancellation of Marcos’ COC, he can no longer be substituted with another candidate. In the event that Marcos is disqualified, substitution is possible up to the date of election.
The very essence of cancellation of COC is material misrepresentation. Intention to deceive and mislead the public must be proven. Disqualification is limited only for two grounds, he added.
According to Magistrado, in case Marcos wins as president and the Comelec or Supreme Court decides in favor of COC cancellation, he must turn over the presidency to the candidate who has the 2nd highest number of votes in the presidential race. If he is disqualified after winning, the proclaimed vice president will take over as president.
Magistrado stressed that the IBP as a group will not participate in any partisan political activity. As lawyers, its members will protect the rule of law, which is their duty as officers of the court.