MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has given the parties in the two disqualification cases filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. 48 hours to file their memoranda.

Presiding Commissioner Rowena Guanzon ordered petitioners Bonifacio Ilagan, and Akbayan and Marcos to submit through electronic mail (e-mail) their memorandum on Sunday.

“Lawyers hereby given 48 hours to file their memorandum. Your 48 hours begin noon today (Friday). You're to file memorandum via email. And hard copy the next day. If the court received it, it is deemed filed. January 9 at noon on Sunday via email, then hard copy on Monday, January 10 at noon,” Guanzon said after Friday's preliminary conference of the cases held at the session hall of the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Lawyers Jake Rey Fajardo and Antonio Salvador, represented Akbayan and Ilagan, respectively during the conference.

Lawyer Hanna Barcena, meanwhile, represented Marcos in the two cases.

During the preliminary conference, petitioners were given time to stipulate what on their petitions which seeks to disqualify Marcos from running in next year’s polls due to his conviction for not paying taxes.

Also in attendance was Commissioner Aimee Ferolino.

On the other hand, Marcos, through one of his closest friends, former congressman Anton Lagdameo, apologized to the poll body, particularly to Guanzon, for the inconvenience, if any, caused by his failure to attend the prelude to the disposition of the cases.

He was not able to participate in the meeting as he is in isolation after being exposed to chief of staff, lawyer Vic Rodriguez and his security escort who both tested positive for coronavirus.

His attending physician, Benedict Francis Valdecanas, issued a medical certificate saying the former senator has difficulty in speaking due to a painfully congested throat and a fever.

“Upon my examination, Marcos had a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius and his throat was hyperemic and swollen,” read part of the doctor’s medical certificate, the full contents of which was read in court during the Comelec preliminary hearing.

Meanwhile, Akbayan expressed confidence on the case against the former senator.

“Our petition is about the truth, and Mr. Marcos’ accountability for failing to follow the law. We bring a strong case and the evidence will show that Marcos’ unfitness for public office will eventually come to light. We thank Commissioner Guanzon and the rest of the Comelec for the way they handled today’s proceedings,” Akbayan’s First Nominee Percival Cendaña said in a statement.

The petitioners argued that Marcos should be disqualified from this year’s elections because he was convicted of failing to file his income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.

They added that a conviction carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office. The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) found Marcos guilty of tax evasion in July 1995.

The third disqualification case filed by Abubakar Mangelen, is submitted for resolution after no counsel appeared for the petitioner during the conference. (PNA)