PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

THE SUPREME Court has denied petitions seeking to bar President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. from the May election, paving the way for his proclamation as the Philippine’s 17th president on June 30.

In a statement on Tuesday, the High Court’s Public Information Office said the tribunal unanimously dismissed the appeals in a 13-0 vote.

Two associate justices with ties to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) did not take part in the deliberations.

“The court held that in the exercise of its power to decide the present controversy led them to no other conclusion but that respondent Marcos Jr. is qualified to run for and be elected to public office,” it said.

“Likewise, his certificate of candidacy, being valid and in accord with the pertinent law, was rightfully upheld by the Commission on Elections.”

A full copy of the ruling penned by SC Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda has yet to be made public by the court.

SC Associate Justice Antonio T. Kho, Jr. inhibited himself from the decision since he was a Comelec commissioner and was part of the division that rejected one of several lawsuits that sought to cancel Mr. Marcos’ candidacy based on tax violations.

Associate Justice Henri Jean-Paul B. Inting also did not join in the deliberations as he is the brother of acting Comelec Chairperson Socorro B. Inting.

Martial law victims and taxpayers brought their separate petitions last month before the Supreme Court, seeking to reverse the Comelec en banc’s decision affirming that Mr. Marcos was eligible to run.

Mr. Marcos went into exile in Hawaii with his family during the February 1986 uprising that ended the almost two-decade autocratic rule of his father and namesake, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.

He had served as a congressman and senator since his return to the Philippines in 1991.

The office of Mr. Marcos had yet to issue a comment on the court ruling as of press time.

INAUGURATION
Meanwhile, his inauguration in the capital Manila on June 30 will be “solemn and simple,” his office said in a press release on Tuesday.

“It would be very traditional,” Franz Imperial, one of the organizers, was quoted as saying. “He himself said in his vlog that we will not veer away from the tradition.”

There will be a 30-minute military-civil parade, to be followed by the signing of a patriotic song that was popular during Marcos Sr.’s rule.

The press release did not mention the focus of the president-elect’s speech and the issues that he will raise during his first day in office.

Mr. Marcos Jr. will deliver his speech without the aid of a teleprompter, his team said.

On the same day, the President-elect will induct his Cabinet members and hold his first meeting with them “immediately after,” the Marcos team said.

An inaugural reception will be held at the presidential palace in the evening for officials and foreign dignitaries who “wish to call on the new president,” it added.

Mr. Marcos won by a landslide in the May 9 election, which academics consider a make-or-break moment for Philippine democracy.

Thousands of activists and ordinary people have been killed and harassed during his father’s martial rule, according to Amnesty International.

The administration of the younger Marcos will be closely watched by domestic and international groups, the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) said in an e-mailed statement.

“We are already alarmed with the human rights crisis in the country and we are seeing that this will continue in the next administration,” it said.

Former Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon, who met with the group in a recent event, said in the release that “the world [will continue to watch the Philippines] but this time with more vigilance.”

Authorities said all is set for the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum, with some 15,000 security forces to be deployed.

Protests will only be allowed in designated freedom parks. Manila Police District Director Leo M. Francisco warned that those who will hold their protest actions around and near the venue will be “sent home.”

Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas called the planned security measures an “overkill” and reflect the “misplaced anxieties” of the police and the military.

The leader of the group representing women said protesters only aim to “peacefully exercise their constitutional right to free speech.”— with Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan



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