Group to appeal Marcos Jr. disqualification case ruling

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2022 05:17 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2022 05:18 PM

MANILA- A civil society group on Friday said they will file a motion for reconsideration next week to overturn of the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) first division ruling that junked their petition that aimed to disqualify presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in the elections this year. 

Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said they would file their motion either on Monday or Tuesday next week.

Petitioner Bonifacio Ilagan said he lamented the ruling. 

“The decision as penned by Commissioner Ferolino has merely strengthened our doubts regarding the integrity of the process," Ilagan said. 

“Ang desisyon po na sinulat ni Commissioner [Aimee] Ferolino contradicted all that Commissioner [Rowena] Guanzon stated in her separate opinion. So it is now a case of interpretation of Commissioner Ferolino vs the interpretation of Commissioner Guanzon," he added.

Guanzon’s position on the case, which she divulged ahead of the completion of the draft resolution and voting by the division, was no longer considered after she lost her voting right in light of her retirement on Feb. 2.

Guanzon, who wanted to disqualify Marcos Jr., accused Ferolino of unduly “delaying” the circulation of her draft resolution, which would serve as basis for the deliberations and voting, upon the supposed influence of a “senator” whom she has yet to name.

The controversy, and the prior "Hello, Garci" issue that hounded the commission, cast doubts on the “integrity of the process (resolution of Marcos cases),” according to Ilagan.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said it was “very unfortunate that everything now is being conflated,” just as he explained that cases filed with the poll body “can go either way.”

“It’s not necessarily the decision that you wanted to get, but if you don’t get the decision you want, does that mean that the integrity of the judge is now suddenly questionable?” Jimenez said.

Despite this, Jimenez said it was “very heartening to hear” that petitioners would continue to submit to the jurisdiction of the Comelec by filing their appeal.

CARMMA legal counsel Howard Calleja urged the commission en banc to resolve the motion for reconsideration “as soon as possible” so they can elevate the issue to the Supreme Court, in the event that the commission affirms the division ruling.

“Nakakalungkot po ang naging desisyon ng First Division ng Comelec although expected na yan… ang pagbabayad po ng tax, ang buwis, ay lifeblood of the nation,” said petitioner Dr. Erlinda Senturias. 

(The decision is sad for us but it is expected. Paying tax is the lifeblood of the nation.)

Senturias insisted that the non-filing of returns is an “act of moral turpitude.”

In its ruling, citing a Supreme Court (SC) decision in 2009, the Comelec said non-filing of returns “does not constitute moral turpitude.”

The SC case involved government’s bid to block Marcos Jr. and his mother, Imelda, as executor of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ will.

The republic wanted Marcos Jr. disqualified as executor, citing his ITR case conviction. But the SC said, this is “insufficient" to disqualify him as the "failure to file an income tax return" is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

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