MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. countered another case filed against him before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and said this petition by Martial Law victims is “an affront to our judicial process and should be dismissed forthwith.”
The petition “is based entirely on irrelevant, baseless, and misleading statements,” said Marcos in a reply submitted to the Comelec on Monday, December 27.
The disqualification case, filed on November 18 by Bonifacio Ilagan and other survivors of the Marcos dictatorship, has been raffled off to the Comelec First Division.
The First Division, which is hearing two other cases against Marcos, is composed of two Duterte appointees – Commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino – and the lone Aquino appointee in the poll body, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
The Second Division is hearing other cases against Marcos, including the one filed by the group of former poll chief Christian Monsod.
In their disqualification case, Martial Law survivors alleged that Marcos violated the National Internal Revenue Code, which has a penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office and participation in any election.
The petitioners had also cited Marcos’ claim in his certificate of candidacy, declaring he was not convicted of any crime with a sanction of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
“This material misrepresentation is more than sufficient ground for the Honorable Commission to cancel respondent convicted candidate Marcos Jr.‘s certificate of candidacy, or to deny due course to the same. Or, in the alternative, disqualify the respondent convicted candidate Marcos, Jr. from holding public office,” the petition said.
In response, the Marcos camp said that “contrary to the petitioners’ allegations, the penalty of perpetual disqualification has never been imposed” against Marcos. They added that Marcos “has neither been convicted by final judgement of a crime involving moral turpitude nor sentenced by final judgement to suffer imprisonment for more than 18 months.”
No question before, says Marcos camp
While a “barrage of eight criminal informations” was filed in 1991, which convicted Marcos for the offenses, the Marcos camp said the presidential bet was later acquitted by the Court of Appeals in 1997 of the criminal charges of non-payment of deficiency taxes for the taxable years 1982 to 1985. “However, BBM was ordered to pay fines plus interest for his failure to file income tax returns for aforesaid years.”
The Marcos camp noted that initially the presidential bet appealed the decision, but eventually withdrew his appeal. “The CA (Court of Appeals) decision became final and executory on August 31, 2001. [Marcos] paid the deficiency taxes and fines on December 27, 2001.”
Since then, Marcos has filed candidacies for various elected positions. In 2004, he won the gubernatorial race in Ilocos Norte. In 2007, he served as member of the House of Representatives, representing Ilocos Norte’s second district. In 2010, he won a seat in the Senate, and in 2016, he ran for vice president but lost to Leni Robredo.
The Marcos camp said no one questioned Marcos’ eligibility when he ran for the elected positions before.
On Tuesday, the Marcos camp, in their response to the case filed by Monsod’s group, also dismissed the arguments as “manifestly preposterous and misleading.”
The Marcos camp asked the Comelec Second Division to dismiss the case for lack of merit. “The creativity and imagination of petitioners – writing and wanting what is not there – can never be sufficient grounds to disqualify BBM.” – Rappler.com