MANILA — Two petitioners that sought the disqualification of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday filed their motion for reconsideration (MR) to convince the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to reverse the ruling of the First Division in favor of the late dictator's son and survey frontrunner.
In their MR, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party asserted that Marcos was meted, “by operation of law,” the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office when he was convicted for non-filing of income tax returns (ITRs) for taxable years 1982 up to 1985, which was made final in 2001.
“[I]t is clear that the penalty of perpetual disqualification was meant to be an additional accessory penalty, imposed to reflect the higher standard expected of public officers who take an oath to respect the laws of the land,” the motion read.
In her 41-page ponencia dated Feb. 10, Comelec First Division member Aimee Ferolino said Marcos was not meted the penalty of perpetual disqualification, nor sentenced with imprisonment of 18 months for a crime involving moral turpitude, thus he possesses all qualifications to run and “be elected” president.
Commissioner Marlon Casquejo agreed with the ruling but wrote a separate opinion.
Notwithstanding the division’s ruling that “a proper dispositive portion should include the penalty imposed,” former Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales told reporters that "permanent disqualification is an accessory penalty… and unfortunately, it was not visibly underscored by the Court of Appeals but this does not mean it was not an accessory [penalty].”
The MR further stated the conviction was for a crime involving moral turpitude; and Marcos was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for the 1985 case - one of the grounds for disqualification under the Omnibus Election Code.
Despite the absence of any finding of fraud by the courts, the MR asserted this “does not negate the possibility that its commission (non-filing of ITRs) may involve moral turpitude,” and “does not mean that all crimes involving moral turpitude must have fraud among their elements.”
“He cannot cheat his way to the presidency; matagal na tayong binubudol and we will see this to the end,” said Akbayan first nominee Percy Cendaña.
Akbayan also urged Ferolino to inhibit from the en banc case, in light of retired Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s allegations she deliberately delayed the release of her draft resolution upon the influence of an unnamed senator.
Ferolino has denied the allegation, even accusing Guanzon of trying to sway her vote.
Apart from Akbayan, Bonifacio Ilagan, et al. of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) also filed their MR Tuesday.
CARMMA argued the Comelec First Division “erred” in its ruling.
“Public office is a public trust… the 1977 [National Internal Revenue Code], clearly provides that an [ITR] ‘shall be filed on or before the 15th day of March of each year, covering income of the preceding taxable year,’” the MR stated.
Contrary to petitioners’ position, the resolution emphasized, “upon verification,” the said penalty “was not provided for under the original 1977 NIRC.”
Despite the absence of any ruling against Marcos by the lower and appellate courts of moral turpitude, which involves acts of baseness, vileness or depravity, the MR stated non-filing of ITRs for 4 consecutive years “cannot be regarded as a simple omission.”
“It shows an utter disregard of the laws… Marcos Jr.’s act reeks of dishonesty and bad faith,” it further stated.
CARMMA said it was prepared to bring its case all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Another petitioner in the consolidated case Abubakar Mangelen, former chairman of Marcos’ party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, filed his separate