‘Uphill battle’ to disqualify Marcos prexy bid

The petitioners’ bid to prove that the Commission on Elections committed grave abuse of discretion for rejecting petitions to cancel the certificate of candidacy of presumptive President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr. was an “uphill battle,” according to an analyst.,Lawyer Pacifico Agabin, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law, said the petitioners who elevated their case to the Supreme Court should prove there was “gross, willful, and capricious decision made by the Comelec” in junking their petitions.,“I think that if this case will be given due course, I think the SC can render a decision based on the evidence, but of course, you know very well that proving grave abuse of discretion is an uphill battle,” he said in an interview with ANC. “It’s like swimming against the current in jurisprudence.”,The Comelec en banc dismissed petitions to strike out Marcos’ COC. The groups filed on Monday a petition for certiorari, alleging the poll body gravely abused its discretion for its decision.,In case the High Court grants the cancellation of Marcos’ COC, either Vice President Leni Robredo — who ranked second in the presidential race — or presumptive Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio would sit as the next Chief Executive, Agabin said.,Marcos, the 64-year-old son and namesake of the deposed dictator, got over 31 million votes, making him the first elected president since 1986 who was chosen by a majority of voters.,“If the fourth petition which is for the cancellation of the COC of BBM succeeds, then the highest number of valid votes, namely, that of Leni Robredo will be considered [and] that of Bongbong Marcos will be considered stray votes,” Agabin said.,“The second petition, which is a combination of disqualification and violation of internal revenue code, if BBM is disqualified then, the (presumptive) Vice President Sara Duterte will have to take over the position.”,Likewise, if the SC won’t favor the petitioners against Marcos Jr.’s presidential bid, he would assume the presidency on 30 June and succeeded President Rodrigo Duterte.,A group of civic leaders led by Fr. Christian Buenafe filed a petition for certiorari before the SC in a bid to overturn the Comelec’s ruling denying their plea to cancel Marcos’ COC.,They also urged the SC to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of Marcos for the top government post.,Reacting to their petition, the SC this week ordered all parties to comment within 15 days.,The High Court would decide whether the Comelec committed a grave abuse of discretion as alleged by the petitioners since it has the jurisdiction for such under the expanded definition of judicial power that was stated in Article VIII, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution, Agabin said.,Various groups and individuals had filed petitions before Comelec alleging that Marcos was not eligible to run for president because of his tax conviction which stemmed from his family’s unpaid estate taxes.,It was affirmed by the SC in a 1997 ruling, which “held that the deficiency income tax assessments and estate tax assessments were already final and unappealable, and thus, the subsequent summary levy upon the estate and real properties of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos by the government is an available remedy.”,The Marcos family’s unpaid estate taxes were initially pegged at P23 billion in July 1991, but soared to P203 billion because of annual interests and penalties.,— With a report from MJ BLANCAFLOR