A few days ago, we held crucial elections in the country and until now we are counting the results, not without recriminations and eyebrows raised on certain aspects of the electoral process. But setting reservations aside, the reported commanding lead of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over his rivals should not detract from the fact that there are pending cases to disqualify him, which may now reach the Supreme Court.
In the interest of the rule of law and the conduct of future elections, the Supreme Court should rule on this game-changing issue of eligibility and qualification of a candidate for president. Its enthusiasm and mandate to confront the issue head-on should not be dampened by the reported huge popular vote of the challenged candidate, because the Court has said in 1989 in G.R. No. 87193 involving Sorsogon governor Juan Frivaldo on the issue of his citizenship: "The qualifications prescribed for public office cannot be erased by the electorate alone. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility."
It is hoped that the petitioners whose cases were dismissed by the Commission on Elections only last May 10 will appeal to the Supreme Court. What is at stake is the imperative of upholding the supremacy of the law on the eligibility of a candidate even over an electoral mandate. Otherwise, in the future, through manipulation and duplicity, a popular but unquestionably ineligible candidate may be allowed to run in an election and, if victorious, will plead that we have to bow to the will of the people.
Ancheta K. Tan,
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