THE Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) First Division has yet to release the decision on the disqualification cases filed against Partido Federal ng Pilipinas presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. after one of the division staff members was exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on early Monday said the first division’s decision is expected to come out at “10 a.m. onwards.”
However, during the press briefing around 11 a.m., Jimenez said he is still awaiting word on the division’s decision.
Meanwhile, Atty. Ellaiza Sabile-David, Comelec Director III of the Education and Information Department, said the draft was not ready yet.
“Wala pa po. Hindi pa po ready ‘yung draft. Kasama na rin po ‘yung lawyers po doon sa office ng commissioner kung sino ‘yung ating ponente po ay nagkasakit, so medyo tinamaan din ng COVID. So, magkakaroon po ng delay po sa paglabas ng decision sa promulgation po,” Sabille-David said in a radio interview.
However, in a tweet, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said one of the commissioners of the First Division is in isolation due to contact with a staff member who contracted COVID-19.
“Not true that Commissioner of First Div has COVID, but in isolation due to close contact with COVID positive staff,” she said.
During the briefing, Jimenez announced that the Comelec’s second division, on the other hand, dismissed the petition seeking to cancel Marcos’s certificate of candidacy after the members of the division found that Marcos did not actually make any misrepresentation on his COC.
In the unanimous decision penned by Commissioner Socorro Inting, the division held that contrary to the petitioners’ allegation, there is no legal justification to deny due course to or cancel Marco’s COC and that the provisions of laws cited by the petitioners to support their allegations, did not apply to the case.
When asked if the second division’s resolution would have any bearing on the first division’s decision on the consolidated disqualification cases, Jimenez said each division is independent from one another and they can issue decisions without taking into consideration other division’s rulings.
“This just means that Marcos has overcome another hurdle. The others have yet to be decided,” he said.
The Comelec spokesperson also clarified when asked, that in the event that the Comelec does not disqualify Marcos and the case is elevated to the Supreme Court and the latter disqualifies Marcos after the ballots have already been printed, the substation process will take place.
“If he is under a political party, he could be substituted by someone with the same surname, the substitute can file a COC up to mid-day of the election day,” he said.
On the other hand, Jimenez said if Marcos is not disqualified by the poll body and the case is elevated to the SC but the high tribunal issues a disqualification decision after the elections, if Marcos would win, the Rules of Succession would be followed.
“If Marcos wins the elections but he is later disqualified by the Supreme Court, then the sitting vice president will take over,” he pointed out when asked if the candidate with the second highest votes will assume the post if such scenario will take place.