'Dapat patas': Why petitioners are seeking Bongbong Marcos disqualification

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2021 11:23 AM | Updated as of Nov 09 2021 11:31 AM

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MANILA – Ten professionals who filed a petition seeking to intervene in an earlier petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. did so because they are taxpayers seeking equal treatment under the law, their lawyer Howard Calleja said.

“Well, basically, this is a tax case,” Calleja told ANC Tuesday. “All of these are taxpayers, professionals, the businessmen, civic leaders.”

“Ang sinasabi lang dito, if the ordinary Filipino, the ordinary Juan dela Cruz shall file income tax, at kung hindi siya nag-file eh siya po ay makukulong at pagbabayarin ng fine. E ano pa ho yung ating highest position in the land, the presidency, and that alam naman po natin it also carries the accessory penalty and the additional penalty of disqualification?” he noted.

“So ang sinasabi natin, dapat ho, patas-patas lang po 'yung batas,” Calleja said.

“Let us be equal with everybody. There’s nothing political about this but really [an] implementation of the law, and if it cannot be implemented by the person seeking the highest post, then we don’t think he deserves to be in that highest post in the land.”

Calleja said that in their petition, they argued that the 1997 Court of Appeals ruling is void because it only imposed fines, not jail time in the case of non-filing of income tax returns.

“We’re saying that since the Tax Code or our laws clearly state that [the] penalty for non-payment and non-filing of taxes is imprisonment and fine, we felt that the Court of Appeals decision was beyond its jurisdiction. It was not correct and void ab initio.”

“Because nga there was no choice but it should be imprisonment and fine so in that case, we find that the decision [is] void ab initio and the ruling or the penalty imposed by the Quezon City RTC stands, and we have included a lot of jurisprudence on this matter to strengthen that position,” he said.

Calleja also noted that Marcos Jr. being ordered to pay deficiency income taxes indicates tax evasion, a crime that involves moral turpitude.

“Collection of deficiency payment, to me, means tax evasion as well,” he said.

“This, in addition to the imposition of the penalty under the 1977 Tax Code as amended in 1986 which require or which imposes the penalty of perpetual disqualification for any violation of the tax code. When we say any violation Mike, it doesn’t need moral turpitude,” Calleja said.

“His conviction there clearly makes him perpetually disqualified for any government position whether appointed or elected,” he added.

Earlier this month, civic groups also filed a petition at the Comelec to either cancel or deny the certificate of candidacy of the late dictator’s son over his supposed "false material representation.”

KAPATID, one of the groups that filed the said petition, said allowing Marcos Jr. to run even after he was convicted of tax evasion shows the country’s "double standards."

--ANC, 9 November 2021