Philippines dismisses bid to bar Marcos Jr from presidential race

Lawyers who filed the complaint against Ferdinand Marcos Jr – based on a past tax conviction – say they will appeal.

Bongbong Marcos in a white shirt and accompanied by his wife and sister smiles to a crowd
The elections commission has dismissed the first of at least six petitions seeking to bar Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos from running for the presidency [File: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters]

The Philippines election commission has dismissed a petition that sought to bar Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, from running in May’s presidential election.

Lawyers for the petition said the second division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had dismissed the complaint against Marcos Jr, popularly known as Bongbong.

They argued he was not eligible to run because of a past tax conviction.

The commission ruled there were “no grounds to cancel” Marcos Jr’s candidacy, the lawyers said in a statement on Monday.

They said they would file an appeal with COMELEC with a full bench of judges.

“We thank the Commission on Elections for upholding the law and the right of every bona fide candidate like Bongbong Marcos to run for public office free from any form of harassment and discrimination,” Marcos’s spokesman, Vic Rodriguez said in a statement.

The case is one of more than half a dozen seeking to disqualify Marcos Jr from taking part in the election. His father fled to Hawaii after he was overthrown in the People Power revolution of 1986 and died in exile not long afterwards.

Despite his family’s reputation, Marcos Jr has built a successful career as a politician at the local, regional and national level, and is currently the frontrunner in a crowded election field that includes champion boxer Manny Pacquaio and the current Vice President Leni Robredo.

Incumbent Rodrigo Duterte cannot run again because Philippine presidents are allowed to serve for only a single six-year term.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies