2022 PH presidential race

Comelec rejects all interventions in 1st case vs Marcos

Lian Buan
Comelec rejects all interventions in 1st case vs Marcos

CARAVAN. Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos holds a motorcade in Quezon City on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.

Bongbong Marcos' FB page

The Commission on Elections treats as 'mere scraps of paper' the intervention filed by the group of a 1Sambayan convenor, and the responses made by Bongbong Marcos' political party

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has rejected and will reject all interventions filed in relation to the first of the seven cases against the presidential bid of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Interventions are petitions, or answers to join the main case, which is a petition to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC), filed by civic leaders represented by former Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te.

The Comelec’s 2nd Division rejected, “and treated as mere scraps of paper,” the intervention filed by the group of 1Sambayan convenor Howard Calleja, and the two answers-in-intervention separately filed by Marcos’ party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), and PFP officials.

“No future motions for intervention and/or answers-in-intervention relative to the instant case shall be entertained by this commission,” said the order on Monday, December 13, signed by Commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho Jr.

The Second Division said their move aims to resolve the main petition faster.

The Second Division is composed of Inting, Kho, and newly appointed commissioner Rey Bulay, who was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on December 1. It is unclear why Bulay was not among the order’s signatories.

“Allowing the motion would certainly open the floodgates to like-minded litigants to file their own interventions to the case at hand. Surely, such scenario would unduly delay the resolution of the main petition. This should not be permitted to happen,” said the order.

The Comelec said the Calleja group’s intervention was a “crafty attempt” to circumvent missing the deadline to file their own petition, while the PFP and its officials did not serve copies of their motions to all parties.

Tax payments

It was the PFP’s now-rejected answer-in-intervention that said Marcos had already settled in 2001 his fines amounting to P67,137 over the 1997 conviction for failure to file income tax returns (ITR).

The petition seeks to cancel Marcos’ COC on the ground that his conviction has already disqualified him from holding public office. The main petitioners, assisted by Te, secured a certification from the lower court saying there is no record on file of Marcos complying to the tax judgment.

The 1997 ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered Marcos to pay deficiency in income taxes and fines.

The issue of payment is relevant because the Omnibus Election Code says the disqualification is removed “after the expiration of a period of five years from his service of sentence.” 

Since the CA removed the prison sentence on Marcos in 1997, what is considered a service of sentence for Marcos in this case?

Is his sentence considered served once he had paid what the CA had told him to pay? If so, what was he required to pay – the deficient taxes, the fines or both?

Marcos’ own answer to Comelec, filed late but allowed by the poll body, said the order to pay deficient tax “was unclear” as “it does not specify the particular deficiency income tax which appellant is required to pay.”

This case, or the other cases against Marcos for that matter, will likely all end up in the Supreme Court.

Kho, who is retiring from Comelec on February 2, is applying to be a Supreme Court justice to fill up the vacancy on January 9. Kho’s 2nd Division handles two petitions to cancel Marcos’ COC, and a petition to declare him a nuisance candidate.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, part of the 1st Division, handling the three disqualification cases against Marcos, is applying to be a Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas. She is also retiring as Comelec commissioner on February 2. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.