New petition against Bongbong Marcos banks over automatic tax code disqualification

New petition to quash Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos’ certificate of nomination (COC) focused on the tax code’s automatic disqualification sentence, under which Marcos was found guilty on four counts in 1997.

Ten people represented by lawyer Howard Calleja, president of the 1Sambayan opposition coalition, filed their motion and petition in intervention with the Electoral Commission (Comelec) on Monday, November 8.

The group had to file a request to intervene because the deadline for submitting requests for annulment of the COC has already expired, and Comelec would therefore have to grant their request to intervene or join the request filed on the date. limited by civic leaders and their attorney Ted Te.

In a previous interview, Vice President Leni Robredo said that she and her team were not behind these measures against Marcos. In response, Marcos said at a press briefing in Tacloban, Leyte on Monday, November 8, that if this is true “sabihin niya with kasama niya na i withdraw na (then she should tell her friends to quit).

Calleja said he was assisting the group in a personal capacity, not as chairman of 1Sambayan who endorsed Robredo.

The clerk of the Comelec commission office confirmed on Tuesday in a phone call with Rappler that the petition filed last week by Te’s group had been drawn to the 2nd Division, made up of commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho Jr.

Both are appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte, as the electoral body has only one person appointed by Aquino, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

Inting, a native of Davao City, was appointed to Comelec in 2018 and served as a deputy judge at the Court of Appeal for nine years prior to her appointment.

Before joining Comelec, Kho was appointed Undersecretary of Justice in 2016. He is originally from the city of Zamboanga.

The sole ground for a request for cancellation of the COC, in accordance with Comelec Rule 23, is “any material representation contained therein, as required by law, is false”. The deadline to file a motion to quash the COC was Tuesday.

The grounds

Here’s the basic legal scenario: Marcos was found guilty of failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985, but when the Court of Appeal upheld that conviction, she dropped the jail sentence and just dropped out. impose fines of 36,000 P.

The electoral code disqualifies a person who has been sentenced to more than 18 months in prison, or a crime involving moral turpitude. Both of those grounds were suppressed in Marcos’ case, said then-Arroyo justice secretary Alberto Agra, whom the Marcos camp cites in its response.

“Is your tax return a crime involving moral turpitude?” Siyempre doei (The question is whether filing an RTI is a crime involving moral turpitude, of course not), ”Agra said, quoted by a press release from Marcos. Agra is the justice secretary whose 2010 resolution to eliminate Zaldy Ampatuan in the Maguindanao massacre prompted senior prosecutors to withdraw from him.

The new petition filed by Calleja’s group was based on article 252-C of the tax code, which states that if the offender is a public official, he will be “perpetually disqualified from exercising any public office”. Marcos was vice-governor and then governor of Ilocos Norte when he did not file his RTI.

The new petition made it clear that this provision already existed in the 1977 tax code, the basis of Marcos’ charges, and not just in subsequent changes to the law.

“The provision is clear and is not subject to any interpretation. The mere fact of the conviction should render a candidate public officer ineligible because he is thus perpetually disqualified under the law ”, indicates the petition.

The CA decision, however, did not specify this ancillary sentence in the 1997 decision. The petition stated that “being an ancillary sentence, it is not necessary to write the judgment on the conviction”, citing a decision by the Supreme Court which says “that it is not necessary to express the accessory sentences in the sentence”.

But Marcos had already won several positions afterwards and was in fact able to run for vice-president in 2016, despite losing to Robredo. It doesn’t matter, the petition says, because estoppel is not against the state, or in this case, the state is not bound by its previous bad decisions to allow Marcos to run.

They cited the case of former Dapitan, the mayor of Zamboanga, Dominador Jalosjos, who was convicted of robbery in 1970. Jalosjos had been elected mayor twice and had in fact already survived a disqualification request, until 2010, when he was running for his third term.

His opponent Agapito Cardino has filed a motion to quash his COC, alleging a false statement. Jalosjos said in his COC that he was eligible to run when in fact his conviction made him ineligible. This is also the scope of the Marcos case petitions because the dictator’s son said in his COC that he had not been found responsible for a crime that disqualified him from public service.

In 2012, the Supreme Court has confirmed Comelec decision to cancel the Jalosjos COC. The petition cited this decision urging Comelec to exercise its powers motu proprio (alone).

The decision read: “Despite a prior perpetual special disqualification, Jalosjos was elected and served as mayor twice. Comelec will seriously fail in its constitutional duty to apply and administer all laws relating to the conduct of elections if it does not prohibit, motu proprio, from running for public office to those who suffer from ineligibility. perpetual special by virtue of a final judgment. “

‘Nuisance’

Marcos on Monday called these petitions “nuisances”.

“Yung mga abugado naman na nakakausap ko, sabi is a nuisance petition. Sasagutin on the land of ipapakita na walang ”, Marcos said.

(The lawyers I spoke to said it was a nuisance petition. We will respond and show they have no grounds.)

Among the lawyers cited by Marcos is Nilo Divina, the dean of the Faculty of Civil Law at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) whose name appeared in the death of Aegis Juris fratman Atio Castillo, and the messy legal battle between close friend of Comelec’s former president Andres Bautista and his ex-wife Tish Bautista.

The Marcos camp quoted Divina as saying: “It is ad hominem, or an attack on the personality of the respondent, which can weaken the position of the applicant. It is always the law that counts. – With a report by Dwight De Leon and Vernise Tantuco / Rappler.com


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