Rights activists have asked the Supreme Court of the Philippines to stop Congress from proclaiming Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the next president, alleging he lied when he said he had only been convicted of no crime.
MANILA, Philippines — Rights activists have petitioned the Supreme Court of the Philippines to stop Congress from proclaiming Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the next president, alleging he lied when he said he was never found guilty of no crime.
The Elections Commission had twice dismissed the petition and six other similar complaints seeking to void Marcos Jr.’s nomination papers ahead of the May 9 vote. The petitioners took the case to the highest court on Monday, claiming that Marcos Jr. had been convicted of tax evasion, which should have permanently barred him from seeking public office.
Most of the petitioners are leaders of groups representing survivors of martial law in the 1970s under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the father of the presumed next president. They want the court to temporarily block the Senate and House of Representatives from embarking on a formal voting campaign starting next week that would ultimately declare Marcos Jr. the winner.
“Our petition notes that a candidate’s impending victory cannot remedy their ineligibility,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson for one of the human rights groups.
Marcos Jr. won more than 31 million votes in an unofficial tally in what is expected to be one of the strongest majority terms for a Philippine president in decades. His vice-presidential running mate and daughter of incumbent populist leader Sara Duterte also appears to have won by a massive margin.
His electoral triumph is a stunning reversal of the military-backed but largely peaceful ‘people power’ revolt of 1986 that forced his father to resign after years of mass human rights atrocities and looting that Marcos Jr. never acknowledged.
The 12 winning senators, including the only opponent, Senator Risa Hontiveros, who stood for election, were to be announced on Wednesday by the Electoral Commission.
All of Marcos Jr.’s main challengers, including current vice president Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer, and former boxing star Manny Pacquiao, have admitted defeat.
US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders congratulated Marcos Jr. and Duterte on their huge victory and the relatively smooth running of the election. The separately elected president and vice president are due to take office on June 30 for a single six-year term after Congress confirms the results.
Marcos Jr. and Duterte defended the legacy of their fathers.
Court cases and legal issues still hang over the late dictator’s family, including the payment of a huge inheritance tax, a 2018 corruption conviction of his widow, Imelda Marcos, which is on appeal, and compensation full account of thousands of victims of torture, detentions, disappearances and other atrocities committed during the martial law era when he was in power.
A brutal drug crackdown launched by incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte that has killed thousands of mostly underage drug suspects has sparked an investigation by the International Criminal Court as potential crimes against humanity. The outgoing leader said he would likely face more criminal complaints when he steps down on June 30.