Philippines Supreme Court rejects last bid to thwart incoming president Marcos

FILE PHOTO: Philippine president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, attends a news conference at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a final bid to disqualify President-elect Ferdinand Marcos from last month's election, clearing the way for his inauguration later this week and the return to rule of the country's most famous dynasty.

Marcos, 64, the son and namesake of the notorious dictator overthrown in a 1986 "people power" uprising, won the May 9 election in a landslide and will be sworn in on Thursday for a six-year term.

"The court held that in the exercise of its power to decide the present controversy led them to no other conclusion but that respondent Marcos Jr is qualified to run for and be elected to public office," the court said in a statement.

Activists had appealed to the court to overturn the election commission's dismissal of their petitions, which sought the disqualification of Marcos before the ballot because of his decades-old tax violations, which they argued made him ineligible to run.

Thirteen justices voted to dismiss the petitions, while two did not take part, the court said.

The Marcos camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has previously rejected the petitions as attempts to hobble his campaign.

Opponents of the Marcos family have been outraged by what they see as its systematic use of social media to try to alter historical narratives of plunder, opulence and state-sponsored brutality during the last era of Marcos rule.

The family and its cronies amassed an estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth in the 1970s and 1980s, a government commission found. The Marcos family has denied wrongdoing and says many historical accounts of that period were falsehoods.

"We were not surprised. That (court) decision finally put an official stamp to the restoration and rehabilitation of the Marcoses," petitioner Bonifacio Ilagan, who was jailed and tortured during Marcos senior's martial law era, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty)

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