Bongbong Marcos misses Comelec hearing after COVID-19 exposure

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2022 04:24 PM

The Comelec 1st Division at the preliminary conference on the Akbayan, et al. disqualification petition against presidential contender Ferdinand
The Comelec 1st Division at the preliminary conference on the Akbayan, et al. disqualification petition against presidential contender Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Mangelen case now up for decision; final arguments on Ilagan and Akbayan cases should be in by Sunday

MANILA— The Commission on Elections (Comelec) proceeded with the in-person preliminary conference on Friday for the 3 cases against presidential aspirant former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The petitions filed by Bonifacio Ilagan, et al., Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party, et al., and Abubakar Mangelen were simultaneously heard by the First Division, presided by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, with Commissioner Aimee Ferolino also in attendance.

Marcos was unable to attend the hearing following exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals.

The hearing was suspended due to his camp’s failure to present a medical certificate at the start of the conference. It resumed later on. 

"Upon examination he had a temp. of 37.8 C and his throat was hyperemic and swollen. He reportedly had direct contact with at least 2 individuals who later tested positive (COVID-19),” the electronic medical certificate stated, as read by the Clerk of the Commission.

Marcos’ lawyer, Hanna Barcena, was given 24 hours to file a manifestation explaining his absence in the proceedings, and attach the medical certificate.

 FROM OUR ARCHIVES

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Stipulations or agreements on matters of fact surrounding Marcos’ tax case conviction involving taxable years 1982 up to 1985 were made.

Marcos’ camp denied the stipulations on non-payment of deficiency income taxes, and fines imposed as penalty by the Quezon City trial court, but admitted stipulations on his conviction on non-filing of tax returns and finality of judgment on Aug. 31, 2001.

The Mangelen case was declared submitted for resolution at the start of the hearing due to petitioner’s absence and failure to send his lawyer.

Parties in the Ilagan and Akbayan cases were directed to submit their memoranda containing final arguments within 48 hours, or up to noon of Jan. 9, after which the case shall be deemed submitted for resolution.

Lawyers Jake Rey Fajardo and Antonio Salvador appeared for Ilagan, et al. and Akbayan, et al., respectively.

#DisqualifyBBM and #DisqualifyMarcos were the top 2 trending topics on Twitter Philippines on Friday noon. 

ILAGAN PETITION

The Ilagan petition was filed by martial law survivors, including former Makabayan bloc lawmakers Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza.

Petitioners argue Marcos Jr. is “perpetually disqualified from holding any public office” on the basis of his 1995 tax case conviction by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for non-payment of income taxes and non-filing of income tax returns (ITRs) from 1982-1985.

Marcos was sentenced to imprisonment and payment of fine.

On appeal, in 1997, the decision of the lower court was modified by the Court of Appeals, which acquitted Marcos of non-payment of taxes even as the non-filing of ITR ruling was upheld.

The prison sentence was removed by the CA.

Regardless of the CA decision, petitioners insist Marcos Jr., by virtue of section 253(c) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), is perpetually disqualified from public office.

“Section 253(c) of the [NIRC] specifically provides that if a person convicted of a crime penalized by the NIRC is a public officer or employee, the ‘maximum penalty for the offense shall be imposed an, in addition, he shall be dismissed from the public service and perpetually disqualified fgrom holding any public office, to vote and to participate in any election,’” the petition stated.

It further pointed out, it will be “difficult, if not impossible” for human rights victims during martial law to claim reparations, and for government to recover “the bulk of the ill-gotten wealth plundered by the Marcoses and their cronies” if Marcos is allowed to run and if he won the presidency.

And even if Marcos was allowed to run for provincial seats, senator, and vice-president in the past, petitioners argue his conviction has not been rendered moot since perpetual disqualification is “not time-bound.”

AKBAYAN PETITION

The Akbayan petition, described by Guanzon in a Twitter post Tuesday as “better than the others,” is also anchored on Marcos’ tax case conviction.

It raised a similar argument on Marcos’ perpetual disqualification from public office, explaining that though his non-payment and non-filing of ITRs was up to 1985 only or a year before the perpetual disqualification accessory penalty took effect under PD 1994, filing of ITRs and payment of taxes for 1985 was due on April 15, 1986.

Presidential Decree 1994, incidentally signed into law by Marcos’ father, the late strongman Ferdinand Sr., took effect in January 1986.

Petitioners insist from Jan. 1, 1986 up to at least April 16, 1986, Marcos was “committing” the crime of non-filing of tax returns while he was sitting Ilocos Norte governor.

Under the amended Tax Code, the perpetual disqualification penalty only rises in cases when the offender is a public official or employee.

Petitioners stress that at the time the tax conviction was made final by the Supreme Court on Aug. 31, 2001, Marcos was again incumbent Ilocos Norte governor, and again, his conviction carried with it the accessory penalty.

“To allow the Comelec to wait for a person to file a petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of one suffering from perpetual disqualification will result in the anomaly that these cases so grotesquely exemplify,” the petition read.

The petition also asserts Marcos was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude since “taxes are the lifeblood of the nation.”

MANGELEN PETITION

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Commissioner Abubakar Mangelen continues to claim to this day that he is the duly authorized head of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), though PFP officers insist he was ousted from the party in September.

In his petition, Mangelen questioned the issuance of Certificate Of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) to Marcos, as he insisted “records would show [Marcos] was never an officer or member of PFP.”

Mangelen alleges Marcos’ CONA is “inoperative, void and non-existent.”

The petition explained the issuance of CONA did not go through the proper process, in violation of the party’s constitution and by-laws.

The petition also cited Marcos’ tax case conviction in its disqualification plea.

Aside from these three cases with the 1st Division, there are pending cases against Marcos with the 2nd Division involving a petition for cancellation of certificate of candidacy (COC) filed by civic leaders, led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, et al.; and another disqualification case, filed by Pudno nga Ilokano.

If these cases do not attain finality in time for the printing of official ballots next week, Marcos will still be included in the ballot.

Likewise, he may still be proclaimed winner if he obtains the highest number of votes while there is no final judgment upon completion of canvass of votes.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

Watch more News on iWantTFC