PJ Garcia: BongBong’s candidacy in serious doubt

WHILE One Cebu party has yet to pick a presidential candidate for the 2022 national elections, an official of the local party said the eight pending cases questioning the candidacy of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have raised serious doubts about his viability as a candidate.

Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia said he cannot ask his party to back Marcos, son of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

“As the secretary general of One Cebu and as a lawyer, I cannot advise my party to consider supporting someone whose candidacy is in serious doubt,” Garcia said in a statement.

He further said: “Before the Comelec (Commission on Elections) and the Supreme Court shall have ruled with finality on the question of his disqualification, I cannot possibly ask the party, our mayors, leaders and supporters to exert efforts and expend resources for a candidate who might later on be disqualified.”

This after an eighth petition was filed before the Comelec last week to deny due course to Marcos’ candidacy. Martial Law victims from La Union represented by former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod also filed a petition to disqualify the former senator, the fourth so far this year.

“I have studied the petitions and speaking as a lawyer, they cannot be lightly dismissed as nuisance, especially those filed by eminent legal scholars like Chairman Monsod and former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te,” Garcia said.

Monsod was also a commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Te is legal counsel for one of the petitioners questioning Marcos’ candidacy following his 1997 conviction by the Court of Appeals for failing to file his income tax return.

SunStar tried to get a comment from the camp of Marcos Jr. but did not receive a reply as of press time. Marcos Jr. is running for president with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is seeking the vice presidency.

Garcia, representing Cebu’s third district, placed fourth in the 1993 Bar Examinations and is a former lecturer in constitutional law and election law.

Last September, Garcia had said the local party would decide on its national candidates and alliances “well after” the deadline for the substitution of candidates on Nov. 15.

On Nov. 26, Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio openly courted Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, the congressman’s sister, during the Governor’s Night of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) held at the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

However, the governor said her political party One Cebu had not yet decided on the national candidates to support because they did not want to make the same mistake in the past when they prematurely decided on their choice for president, causing friction in the party and the family.

On Nov. 27, however, the governor’s daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, in her capacity as president of the LMP Cebu, declared support for Marcos and Carpio’s candidacy for president. She expressed hope that the tandem “would be given serious consideration” by the leadership of One Cebu.

Frasco is Carpio’s spokesperson.

Cebu is a vote-rich province, having the most number of registered voters among all provinces in the country, in the 2019 elections. (PR, SUNSTAR CEBU)