MANILA - Opposition coalition 1Sambayan expressed concern on Tuesday over the Commission on Election's decision to dismiss a petition that sought to cancel the certificate of candidacy of former senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
In a statement, 1Sambayan maintained that Marcos was a "convicted criminal" who did not serve his sentence for the non-filing of income tax returns between 1982 and 1985.
The group said that the Comelec Second Division, which junked the petition, received certification from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court that Marcos did not pay the fines associated with his conviction.
Despite these facts, 1Sambayan said that the Comelec still dismissed the petition on the grounds that non-filing of ITRs was not tax evasion, and that Marcos was no longer a public official on the last day of filing his 1985 ITR.
"Reasonable people can agree that such a person should not hold public office," 1Sambayan said. "The question to the Filipino people is, do they want a person who has been convicted of a crime, and who has not served his sentence up to now, to be their president?"
In its ruling, the Comelec Second Division said that Marcos "did not deliberately attempt to mislead, misinform, or deceive the electorate" when he declared in his COC that he was eligible for public office.
It added that the Court of Appeals' ruling on Marcos' tax case did not categorically convict the former senator of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Article I, Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code states that any person who has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, "shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty."
The lawyer of the petitioners, Ted Te, has said that they will appeal the ruling before the Comelec en banc.
"While we understand and respect the authority of the Comelec, 1SAMBAYAN will continue to monitor the developments in this issue," the opposition coalition also said.
There are still at least five other petitions against Marcos' candidacy, asking the Comelec to bar him from running over his tax conviction.