MANILA (UPDATE) - Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is facing another challenge to his 2022 election bid after Akbayan Partylist lodged a new petition against his candidacy before the Commission on Elections.
The petition aims to disqualify the namesake and only son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from holding public office because of his tax evasion conviction in 1995.
It also cited Presidential Decree No. 1994 issued by his father, which amended the 1977 tax code by inserting a provision for perpetual disqualification from public office for violators to all public officials.
In a statement, Akbayan said the Supreme Court also held that Comelec has the constitutional duty to prevent candidates from "running repeatedly" for a government post, citing the 2012 high court ruling on the Jalosjos Jr. v. Comelec case.
Among those who signed the petition were former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales, martial law victims, and other sectoral leaders.
Marcos Jr.'s camp has repeatedly claimed that all the cases against him are "political trash," lodged by "political assassins," intended to block his presidential bid.
In a statement, Marcos spokesman Vic Rodriguez said: "We respect the right of every disillusioned groups to take whatever legal action they think would best serve their own agenda, as we also expect them to respect our right to be heard."
Rodriguez added that the plea is just part of the demolition job against his client.
"Naniniwala kami na lahat nang ito ay bahagi ng patuloy na pang-aapi kay presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos ng iisang grupo ng mga taong likas na negatibo ang pananaw sa buhay, puno ng poot ang puso at ayaw na umusad ang bansa tungo sa magandang bukas," the lawyer said.
(We believe that all these are part of the continuing oppression against Bongbong Marcos, part of the group of people who are negative and are full of hatred and anger in their hearts to the point that they do not want this country to improve.)
The Marcos family has long sought to rebuild its image and has repeatedly denied allegations that it plundered state wealth while in power, estimated in 1987 at $10 billion.
- report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News