SENATE President Vicente Sotto III warned on Thursday, May 19, 2022, of possible “constitutional crisis” if the Supreme Court will grant the petition calling for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Congress to stop them from canvassing the votes for presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“If that happens, we will be courting a constitutional crisis from the fact that Congress can no longer meet after June 3rd,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters.

“Who will then conduct the canvass as mandated by the [Constitution]? July 25 is a key date for Congress. So, no President or [Vice President] by June 30? What do they propose? Holdover? Tell me if that is not a crisis!” he added.

On Tuesday, May 17, petitioners, namely, Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides M. Lim, Mar. Edeliza P. Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland C. Vibal and Josephine Lascano, filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court to stop the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives from canvassing the votes for Marcos and to not proclaim him as the winner in the just concluded national and local elections.

The Senate and the House of Representatives serve as the National Board of Canvassers for the presidential and vice presidential posts.

The petitioners also called for the cancellation and declaration void ab initio of Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC) and to treat him as if he has never been a candidate in the 2022 elections.

The petitioners were among those who filed a petition to cancel Marcos’ COC before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), citing his conviction before a Quezon City court over multiple failure to file his income tax return from 1982 to 1985, which supposedly makes him perpetually disqualified from holding public offices.

On Wednesday, May 18, another group composed of martial law survivors, religious and youth rights advocates filed another petition to the SC seeking the reversal of the dismissal order of the Comelec on their disqualification petition against Marcos.

They noted that the candidate with second highest votes, Vice President Leni Robredo, should be proclaimed as the winner in the presidential race. (SunStar Philippines)