Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez on Wednesday flagged as “misleading” a press release by the camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., which addressed a petition to block his presidential bid in the 2022 elections.

Marcos’s press release read: “Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on Wednesday said the disqualification case filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. yesterday has no clear basis.”

Jimenez clarified that the press release contained statements he made in a OneNews interview on Tuesday morning, hours before a petition was filed urging the Comelec to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy for president due to his 1995 tax case conviction.

“At the time of our interview, there was no filing against the [former] senator, and therefore what I said could not possibly be construed or framed as referring to that subsequent event,” Jimenez said.

In the OneNews interview, Jimenez said there was “no clear case for disqualification” then.

“Under the law, a conviction has to be for a crime committed under moral turpitude or for an offense and a sentence is a penalty of at least 18 months. [Bongbong Marcos] doesn’t meet this criteria so right now in order for him to be disqualified, as [former Supreme Court justice Antonio] Carpio opined in his article, there has to be a finding that the crime for which he was convicted involves moral turpitude,” Jimenez said in the interview.

The petition filed to cancel Marcos’ presidential bid argued that Marcos “claimed that he was eligible to be a candidate for president of the Philippines in the 2022 national elections when in fact he is disqualified from doing so.”

The camp of the late dictator’s son said the petition was a “predictable nuisance.”

“Until then, we will refrain from commenting on their propaganda. Our camp does not engage in gutter politics,” Marcos spokesman Victor Rodriguez said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro