Fri. May 27th, 2022

A second petition for disqualification has been filed against the presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the May 2022 polls before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday.

In a 13-page petition for disqualification, the petitioners, led by the Akbayan Citizens Action Party (Akbayan), sought to disqualify the former lawmaker from running for president after being convicted of tax evasion in 1995.

They added that such conviction prohibits him from holding public office.

“Petitioners respectfully submit that the Respondent should be disqualified as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines on the grounds, each of which is sufficient to disqualify the Respondent, namely the Respondent is perpetually disqualified from holding public office; the Respondent was convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, and the Respondent was sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment of more than 18 months,” the petitioners said.

“As such, his conviction for the said crimes carried with it the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding any public office, voting, and participating in any election,” they added.

The group said Marcos had committed a crime involving moral turpitude when he opted to skip paying taxes.

“Undoubtedly, the repeated failure of the Respondent, for more than a decade, to file his income tax returns as a public officer was a series of continuing acts done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals that manifest baseness, vileness, or depravity. These acts constituted crimes involving moral turpitude,” said the petitioners.

They also cited a 2012 Supreme Court decision on the Jalosjos, Jr. v. Comelec case, saying that the high tribunal held that the election body bears the constitutional duty to, motu proprio, prevent candidates who are perpetually disqualified, like Marcos Jr., from running repeatedly for public office.

“To allow the Comelec to wait for a person to file a petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of one suffering from perpetual special disqualification will result in the anomaly that these cases so grotesquely exemplify. The Comelec will be grossly remiss in its constitutional duty to ‘enforce and administer all laws’ relating to the conduct of elections if it does not motu proprio bar from running for public office those suffering from perpetual special disqualification by virtue of a final judgment,” the petition quoted from the decision.

The petition was signed by Akbayan’s First Nominee Percival Cendaña, former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Etta Rosales, Akbayan Youth Chairperson Dr. RJ Naguit, women leader Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW-Asia Pacific), and labor leader Nice Coronacion of the Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

This case is the fifth petition filed against the son of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos before the poll body.

The other petitions are for declaration as a nuisance candidate filed by Danilo Lihaylihay, for cancellation of certificate of candidacy by Fr. Christian Buenafe and others, and by Tiburcio Marcos.

The first disqualification petition against Marcos was filed by Bonifacio Ilagan and others.

In a statement, Marcos’ spokesperson lawyer Vic Rodriguez said they respect the right of these groups to “take whatever legal action they think would best serve their own agenda”.

“We also expect them to respect our right to be heard,” he added.

Rodriguez said the petitions filed against the former senator are part of efforts to put him in a bad light. 

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