Comelec division junks petition to cancel Marcos COC for president
MANILA, Philippines — The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied a petition seeking to cancel former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for president, saying his failure to file his income tax returns does not constitute a crime of moral turpitude.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Monday the Second Division dismissed the petition filed by anti-Marcos regime activists led by Task Force Detainees chair Fr. Christian Buenafe for lack of merit. The petition claimed that Marcos is not eligible to run for any public office following his tax evasion conviction in 1995.
The petitioners said that Marcos “falsified” his COC when he claimed that he was eligible to be a candidate for president of the Philippines in the 2022 national elections despite his previous tax conviction.
“The Second Division ruled that the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1994 did not apply to the case, because that would have resulted in a retroactive application since an NIRC of 1994 took effect only in 1986, whereas the cases involved in this case, were ’82, ’83, and ’84,” Jimenez said in a press briefing.
“So for this reason, when respondent Marcos Jr. checked the item on the COC saying that he has no disqualifications, it was not a misrepresentation,” he added, citing the Comelec division’s ruling.
Further, Jimenez said that the division noted that failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude.
Atty. Theodore Te, counsel for petitioners, said the petitioners will seek reconsideration of the decision.
It was Te who first disclosed in a Tweet the junking of the petition.
TLDR: Comelec Second Division denies petition to cancel Marcos Jr.'s COC, ruling essentially that the representations required are material but that they are not false. Petitioners disagree and will seek reconsideration within the period provided under the Comelec Rules. pic.twitter.com/tPYnnn7Qls
— Ted Te (@TedTe) January 17, 2022ADVERTISEMENT
“In essence, the Comelec agreed with the petitioners that the representations made in Item 11 and Box 22 of the COC of Marcos Jr. are material but disagreed that they were false; in the process, the Second Division ruled that there was no ground to cancel Marcos Jr.’s COC on the ground of material representation,” Te said in a tweet.
Te said the petitioners will seek reconsideration of the decision.
“Counsels are not free to discuss the grounds to be included in the Motion for Reconsideration until the same is filed. Additional updates will be provided once the same is filed,” the said.
Since the ruling was handed down by the Second Division, the Comelec en banc may still have to convene to tackle the matter after the panel has ruled on the motion for reconsideration.
The petitioners claimed that Marcos Jr. is not eligible to run for any public office since the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted him in 1995 for his failure to file income tax returns.
“Specifically, Marcos falsified his Certificate of Candidacy when he 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 petitioners earlier said.
Free to run
Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, thanked the Comelec for “upholding the law” and the right of Marcos to “run for public office free from any form of harassment and discrimination.”
“The petitioners’ mere creativity for writing and wanting what is not written in the law as basis to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Presidential Aspirant Bongbong Marcos is way too frivolous and unmeritorious to override the basic precepts of the Constitution,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“After the petitioners’ right to have their day in court where their case was fully heard and ventilated, the Comelec has unanimously spoken — the petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Bongbong Marcos was denied,” he added.
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