Religious groups joined activists and families of victims of abuses during the years of martial law in the 1970s in filing a petition before the Philippine Supreme Court to overturn the dismissal of disqualification cases filed against Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The country needs an honest, transparent, law-abiding, morally upright, conscientious, and someone with a good track record,” said Sister Susan Esmile, a nun of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who is among the petitioners.
She said Filipinos “should take every chance to stop a Marcos presidency,” adding that Marcos did not even improve the lives of the people in the province he used to lead. “In short, he doesn’t have the qualities of a leader of the country,” said Sister Esmile.
Martial law survivors and activists under the banner of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law filed the petition for certiorari on Wednesday, May 18.
“That Marcos Jr. was even able to run is not only a blatant mockery but a shameless bastardization of our democracy and electoral exercise,” said playwright and CARMMA convenor Bonifacio Ilagan in a statement released to the media.
He said the decision of the Commission on Elections to dismiss the disqualification petition against Marcos “rubs salt on the wounds of injustice.”
“It is a slap on the faces of all the victims who suffered unspeakable atrocities under the Marcos dictatorship,” said Ilagan.
Among the religious leaders who joined in the petition are Sister Esmile, Sister Arabella Balingao of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Sister Cherry Ibardaloza of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, and Rev. Homar Rubert Distajo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
“We are determined to bring our case before the Supreme Court because our petition to disqualify Marcos Jr. is more than a legal issue,” said Ilagan, adding that the cause is “above all, a moral and historical issue.”
Earlier in the week, lawyer Theodore Te filed a petition calling for the Supreme Court to declare Marcos Jr.’s certificate of candidacy as void from the beginning.
The petition, which was initially filed in November 2021, argues that Marcos Jr. committed a crime of moral turpitude and perjury for answering “no” to the question if he has been found liable for any offense on his certificate.
Marcos Jr. was convicted for breaching the 1977 Internal Revenue Code after failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 and for non-payment of the income taxes due.
In Philippine law, anyone convicted for any crime involving moral turpitude is perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The Commission on Elections junked the petition on May 10, a day after the elections.
If the petition is decided by the Supreme Court before Marcos Jr. swears into office on June 30, the more than 31 million votes amassed by Marcos Jr. will be invalidated and will be labeled as stray votes. The presidential runner-up, Vice President Leni Robredo, will instead be proclaimed as president.