Guanzon votes to disqualify Marcos, says tax offense harmed public interest

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2022 02:44 PM

Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon explained why she sided with petitioners who wanted to bar the late dictator's son from the presidential race. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon explained why she sided with petitioners who wanted to bar the late dictator's son from the presidential race. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Commissioner Rowena Guanzon has voted to disqualify presidential frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., as detailed in her separate opinion released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday.

In a 24-page separate opinion, Guanzon said the Marcos' tax offenses, for which he was convicted for, constitute "moral turpitude."

"After an assiduous analysis of the arguments of the parties and the evidence on record, I find that respondent's repeated & persistent non-filing of income tax returns in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985, which resulted in his convicted, constitutes an offense involving moral turpitude," Guanzon said. 

Under the law, "any person who... has been sentenced by final judgment 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."

"In a very real sense, respondent's failure to file his tax returns, which in turn led to the belated discovery of deficiency taxes, had a deleterious effect to public interest," Guanzon said.

Guanzon also noted that Marcos' non-filing of ITRs caused harm to public interest. 

Guanzon's vote on the Marcos cases hangs in the balance, with ponente commissioner Aimee Ferolino yet to pen a draft ruling. Guanzon retires on February 3.

For her vote to count, Ferolino has to release the draft ponencia before Feb. 3 in order for Guanzon to participate in the First Division's voting. 

Guanzon has accused Ferolino of deliberately delaying the ruling to "defeat" her vote. Ferolino denied the accusation. 

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