(UPDATE) A group of Ilocanos on Tuesday asked the Commission on Elections to disqualify Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. from running for president in the 2022 elections, arguing that he could no longer run for any public office due to his tax-related conviction.
Pudno Nga Ilokano, an informal organization in Northern Luzon formed by Ilocanos actively supporting social change, filed the fourth disqualification petition against Marcos, who hails from Ilocos Norte.
Former Comelec chair Christian Monsod, Ateneo Human Rights Center executive director Ray Paolo Santigao, and other volunteer lawyers assisted the group in filing the complaint.
According to the petitioners, Marcos should not be allowed to run for president in view of his conviction for failing to file his income tax returns from 1982 to 1985, which carried the accessory penalty of "perpetual disqualification" from public office.
The fact that Marcos repeatedly failed to file his income taxes for four consecutive years showed his "willful intent" to evade the payment of taxes, which the group said is tantamount to "moral turpitude," another basis for his disqualification.
The imposition of a jail sentence on Marcos also carried with it an accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification from the right to suffrage under the Revised Penal Code, the petitioners said.
Although the Court of Appeals modified the decision and imposed a fine instead of prison time, it did not remove the penalty of disqualification from the right to suffrage, they added.
"Thus, in relation to Section 2, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, Marcos cannot run for President because he cannot be a registered voter, a basic requirement for any presidential aspirant," the group said.
Apart from this petition, Marcos is facing at least six other cases seeking to block his presidential bid, which include two pleadings to cancel his certificate of candidacy, three petitions for disqualification, and one petition to declare him a nuisance candidate.
If the Comelec cancels Marcos’ COC, then he cannot be substituted by another person. If the petition for disqualification is granted, Marcos can only be substituted by another aspirant with the same surname since the period for candidacy substitution had lapsed last Nov. 15.
Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez maintained that all these petitions are “nothing but nuisance cases” and urged those behind them to respect the Filipino people and their democratic right to decide for themselves.
“We also urge them not to remove the right of the people to freely choose their leader and stop looking down on the intelligence of the Filipino people. Elections are won and settled on election day and not through the filing of nuisance petitions,” he added.
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