'Convicted twice': Guanzon says Marcos Jr. can't run for President

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2022 12:00 AM

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MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Friday said she cannot find any rationale why former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. should be allowed to run for president in Halalan 2022.

A day after revealing that she voted in favor of a consolidated case involving 3 petitions to disqualify the presidential frontrunner in the 2022 elections, Guanzon asserted Marcos Jr. was sentenced in a crime involving moral turpitude, which is one of the grounds for disqualification under the Omnibus Election Code.

She is part of the three-member Comelec First Division handling the petitions for Marcos' disqualification over a 1995 tax evasion conviction for his failure to file mandatory income tax returns (ITR) from 1982 to 1985 while he was still Ilocos Norte governor.

Guanzon noted that an 80-year old man, who recently caught public attention after allegedly stealing kilos of mangoes, was arrested and charged for a crime involving moral turpitude. 

"Moral turpitude, pagnanakaw. Sa Australia, traffic violation, moral turpitude. They will cancel your application for citizenship. Traffic violation lang ha? Nag-one way street ka lang. Dito sa Pilipinas, ibig mong sabihin, 'di ka nag-file ng income tax return apat na beses bilang gobernador ng Ilocos at ang presidente at diktador ay ama mo? Hindi pa 'yun moral turpitude?" she told ANC, referring to Bongbong's dad, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

"He was convicted. Convicted! Marcos Jr. was convicted, he's a convict! How many times do I have to say he's a convict? He was convicted twice in the regional trial court and in the Court of Appeals," Guanzon emphasized.

She said Marcos did not even bother to pay the fines after his conviction then. 

"I cannot find any legal justification for his actions. I cannot conclude but say all those failures to file ITR for 4 years and to pay the fine were intentionally done with a cavalier attitude, being the son of the president, who thought he was above the law," she said.

Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Marcos' political party, earlier claimed that his failure to file ITRs is not an issue. 

PFP general counsel George Briones likened it to a mere "jaywalking" violation, to Guanzon's amusement.

"Nagnakaw nga ang tao ng 10 kilong mangga, kinulong nila. Ito bale pagnanakaw din ito ng buwis sa gobyerno, apat na taon, hindi nagbayad ng multa, hindi ito moral turpitude? Ay pambihira naman," she said.

Briones earlier Friday accused Guanzon of illegally disclosing and leaking her vote "with undue haste."

He urged Comelec to investigate Guanzon for alleged violations of Code of Judicial Conduct.

But Guanzon slammed the PFP, saying the Commission en banc has no jurisdiction over an administrative complaint against a commissioner. 

The three petitions against Marcos' candidacy were separately filed by martial law survivors, led by Bonifacio Ilagan; Akbayan party-list; and Abubakar Mangelen.

The Comelec First Division was earlier supposedly scheduled to rule on the 3 petitions against Marcos Jr. on or before January 17 but the written resolution has yet to be released, as of writing.

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