MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has failed to pay the penalty and fines for his 1995 tax conviction, a case at the core of petitions against his 2022 bid, court documents show.
A certification from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 105 showed Marcos “has not satisfied the judgment” or has not paid the penalty in his tax conviction case.
The document was shared by Theodore Te, lawyer for petitioners from various human rights groups who are seeking the cancellation of Marcos Jr.'s certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2022 national elections.
Te said they made a written request to Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 105 which originally heard Marcos Jr.’s tax cases.
"This is to certify that there is no record on file of [the] compliance of payment or satisfaction for the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) dated July 27, 1995 or the Court of Appeals (CA) dated October 31, 1997," the document read.
There is also no record of the "entry in the criminal docket of the RTC Decision dated July 27, 1995 as affirmed/modified of the Court of Appeal's Decision."
The QC RTC originally sentenced Marcos Jr. to 9 years in prison and ordered him to pay fines worth P72,000 for failing to file his income tax return (ITR) and to pay taxes from 1982 to 1985, aside from his tax deficiencies worth around P20,000.
The CA, in 1997, modified this, acquitting him of non-payment of taxes but affirming his conviction for non-filing of ITRs.
It removed the jail term but ordered him to pay P36,000 in fines plus surcharges.
It also ordered him to pay the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the income tax deficiencies due with interest.
“Based on this information, petitioners will bring this matter to the urgent attention of the Comelec in SPA 21-156 (DC) and also the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City which is the government agency mandated to enforce the judgment of the RTC,” Te and the other lawyers said in a statement.
Te said the document they obtained from the court solidifies their Comelec petition against the late dictator's son.
"The certification simply cements what we have already said in the petition. The respondent has been convicted and the sentence remains unserved," Te said.
He explained that the penalties imposed by the National Internal Revenue Code, which includes perpetual absolute disqualification, remains even if it was modified by the CA.
"His continuing evasion of the sentence, coupled with his repeated misrepresentation of his eligibility all those times he ran for public office, is evidence of his intent to deceive the electorate and not to abide by the laws he aspires to execute," Te added of Marcos, a former senator.
Former Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, who was first to raise Marcos' tax conviction case and its implication on his candidacy, said the presidential frontrunner should present proof that he complied with the court's order.
"If BBM cannot present receipt or proof of payment, then he lied again. Moreover, his disqualification has not been lifted," Carpio said.
Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez meanwhile said their camp is "very confident" with the answer they gave to Comelec.
"Now if they have other issue or matter that they would like the Comelec to take up, then it is within their legal right to do so. But we have complied," he said.
Rodriguez said the Marcos camp will not talk to anyone on " a possible amicable settlement of the case."
"They started this whole thing and we are ready, we will meet them head on legally. We are very confident with out position and there’s no basis to disqualify Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.," he said.
Marcos Jr. himself has not addressed this issue, with his spokesperson saying at one point that petitioners should do their own research.
But his 1995 conviction for tax evasion should prevent him from running for president, even if the Court of Appeals in 1997 reduced the penalty to a mere fine, groups earlier told Comelec.
Mere conviction, according to the petitioners, perpetually disqualifies him from running for any public office.
Read the full ruling here:
The presidential aspirant is currently facing 7 petitions seeking to block his candidacy for president.
These petitions are either seeking to cancel his COC because of false material representation in declaring he is eligible to run for president despite his tax conviction, or to disqualify him or to declare him a nuisance candidate.
Marcos Jr.'s camp has repeatedly claimed that all the cases against him are "political trash," lodged by "political assassins," and are intended to block his presidential bid.
The family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos 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.
His dictatorial rule was also marred by violence, including disappearances and deaths of perceived enemies.
— Reports from Mike Navallo and Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News