MANILA (UPDATE) — A group of residents from the so-called Marcos bailiwick “Solid North” filed Tuesday a new petition to block the 2022 presidential bid of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., the eighth so far received by the Commission on Elections.
The group called Pudno Nga Ilocano or Real Ilocanos is asking the Comelec to disqualify the late dictator’s son and namesake from next year's presidential race, citing his tax evasion conviction that supposedly made him ineligible for public office.
“Today, we Ilocanos and residents of the so-called, yet mythical Solid North are coming out to join the petitioners for the disqualification and cancellation of the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Marcos,” the group said in a statement.
In 1995, Marcos was convicted by a Quezon City trial court for non-payment of income taxes and non-filing of tax returns from 1982 up to 1985, and was meted the penalty of imprisonment and payment of fines.
He was acquitted by the Court of Appeals (CA) on non-payment of taxes, but his conviction on non-filing of tax returns was affirmed. His imprisonment sentence was removed by the court.
In their petition, Pudno Nga Ilokano argued that Marcos is perpetually disqualified from holding public office by virtue of having been found guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude.
"In a plethora of Supreme Court cases, Philippine jurisprudence has long recognized the time-honored lifeblood doctrine, which is declared that ‘taxes are the lifeblood of the nation… the [SC] exposed the dreadful consequences of ‘non-payment of taxes’ which adequately explains why Philippine jurisprudence considers such omissions as ‘inherently immoral' and is therefore a crime involving moral turpitude," the petition stated.
The petitioners are represented by former Comelec chair and one of the 1987 Constitution’s framers Christian Monsod.
Seven other petitions have already been filed before the poll body seeking to either disqualify Marcos, cancel his certificate of candidacy, or declare him a nuisance:
1. Buenafe, et al. vs Marcos - Petition to cancel certificate of candidacy (COC)
2. Bautista, et al vs Marcos - Petition to cancel COC (to join Buenafe petition)
3. Tiburcio Marcos vs Marcos - Petition to cancel COC
4. Danilo Lihay-Lihay vs Marcos - Petition to declare a nuisance candidate
5. Ilagan, et.al vs. Marcos- Petition to disqualify
6. Akbayan, et al vs. Marcos - Petition to disqualify
7. Mangelen vs. Marcos - Petition to disqualify and cancel CONA
Marcos' presidential bid is considered so far the most legally-contested in the country's recent election history.
His camp has repeatedly said that all the cases against him are "political trash," lodged by "political assassins," intended to block his presidential bid.
“While we maintain that these petitions are nothing but nuisance cases, we urge those who are behind these pathetic stunts to please respect the Filipino people and their democratic right to decide for themselves and their collective future,” Marcos' spokesman Vic Rodriguez said Tuesday.
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.
—With reports from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News