MANILA, May 17 (Mabuhay) — A petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the 2022 elections has reached the Supreme Court (SC), asking for an issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block the counting of votes cast for him and his proclamation should he win.

Petitioners Father Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano has asked the High Court to issue a TRO enjoining and restraining the Senate and House of Representatives from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos and proclaiming him as president should he win the May 9 polls.

The petitioners have further asked the SC to:

give due course to the petition;

grant the relief prayed for by reversing and setting aside the resolution dated May 10, 2022 and the resolution dated January 17, 2022 of the Commission on Elections (Comelec);

cancel and declare void ab initio the COC for President filed by Marcos and, in the process, declare him to have never been a candidate in the 2022 national elections; and make permanent the TRO issued against Congress and enjoin and restrain Congress from canvassing the votes cast for Marcos for president.

“Elections are more than a numbers game. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility. The balance must always tilt in favor of upholding and enforcing the law,” the petition read.

“A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from this Court is the only remedy available to enjoin and restrain the Congress of the Philippines from rendering this Petition moot and, in the event this Court rules in favor of the petitioners, allowing a candidacy that should never have been to ripen into a presidency of an ineligible candidate,” it added.

Earlier junked

The Commission on Elections En Banc earlier affirmed the Comelec former Second Division’s resolution that junked the petition filed by Buenafe to cancel Marcos’ COC.

Similar to the ruling on the disqualification cases, the Comelec En Banc said the petitioners failed to raise new matters or issues that would warrant the reversal of the former Comelec Second Division’s ruling.

The Comelec En Banc rejected the following assertions of the petitioners:

The Second Division grievously erred in characterizing the petition as susceptible to summary dismissal and in finding that the petition combined for disqualification and cancellation;

The Second Division grievously erred in ruling that Marcos’ material representation such as that he is eligible for the position of president and that he has not been convicted of a crime punished with the penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office, were not false; and

Contrary to the finding of the Second Division, Marcos deliberately attempted to mislead, misinform, and deceive the electorate.

The poll body also rejected the petitioner’s appeal for the “automatic and mandatory inhibition” of the members of the Comelec Second Division from participating in the discussions of the motion for reconsideration in the En Banc.

The Comelec En Banc refuted the assertion that the petition should not be summarily dismissed.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia earlier said the petitioners could still appeal to the SC in case of an unfavorable decision.

Garcia recused himself from the case as he used to be Marcos’ election lawyer.

As of 2:47 p.m. on Friday, Marcos was still leading the partial and unofficial count of votes with 31,104,175 votes based on data from the Comelec Transparency Media Server. (MNS)

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