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Group of professionals seeks to join bid in cancellation of presidential aspirant Marcos' COC

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Group of professionals seeks to join bid in cancellation of presidential aspirant Marcos' COC
Former Sen. Bongbong Marcos shows his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections.
The STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — A group of ten professionals sought to join the plea to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The group led by Dr. Rommel Bautista filed a petition-in-intervention, through lawyer Howard Calleja, to join in the previously submitted appeal of six civic leaders asking the Commission on Elections to cancel Marcos’ COC.

They asserted that they “have legal interest in the matter in litigation as they are citizens and registered voters who are respectfully invoking the Honorable Commission’s mandate to dutifully enforce election laws.”

Like the previously filed petition, the group cited the conviction of Marcos on his non-filing of tax returns for six years.

“Despite full knowledge of his disqualification, having been convicted of a crime penalized with perpetual disqualification from holding public office under the [National Internal Revenue Code], respondent convicted candidate Marcos Jr. would continue with his deceitful and lying ways, maliciously and falsely representing in his certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to be elected as President of the Philippines and that he has supposedly never been found liable for any offense, which carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office,” they said.

Void CA decision

The petitioners noted that the Quezon City trial court ordered Marcos to serve jail time and pay fines. It also directed him to “pay the Bureau of Internal Revenue the taxes due, including such either penalties, interests and surcharges.”

Marcos elevated this to the Court of Appeals that upheld the conviction in violation of Section 45 of the NIRC. But the petitioners said the appeals court “modified the decision of the RTC of Quezon City and merely imposed a fine, deleting, albeit illegally, the penalty of imprisonment.”

They argued that the CA issued a “void” decision and therefore has no legal effect.

“The Void CA Decision is such because it was issued with grave abuse of discretion and was executed against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws,” they said.

The petitioners cited Section 254 of the NIRC that mandates the imposition of fine and imprisonment for a person who “willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax.”

They told the Comelec that since the CA issued a supposed void judgment, the parties return to the status before the decision, or when the lower court convicted Marcos to suffer both fine and imprisonment.

“As such since respondent convicted criminal Marcos was imposed the penalty of imprisonment exceeding eighteen months, his certificate of candidacy should be canceled for false material representation as he is actually disqualified under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code,” they said.

The petitioners went on to accuse Marcos’s false representations were calibrated to “mislead, misinform, and deceive the voting public, knowing that admitting the same would have detrimental fatal effect on his candidacy.”

Motu propio cancelation of COC

Citing October 2012 SC ruling, the petitioner said the Comelec “can, motu propio, cancel the certificate of candidacy of a disqualified individual running for office based on a final conviction.”

Jalosjos v. Commission on Elections and Cardino v. Jalosjos, dated Oct. 9, 2012, held that the commission “is under a legal duty to cancel the certificate of candidacy of anyone suffering from the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification to run for public office by virtue of final judgment of conviction.”

In the said case, Jalosos was convicted and sentenced to suffer imprisonment and perpetual absolute disqualification Five petitions to deny due course or cancel Jalosjos’ COC were filed, but before the Comelec resolved these appeals, the Commission issued a resolution which canceled motu propio the COC.

“The SC further said that the act of declaring a candidate’s disqualification to run for public office based on a final conviction falls within the COMELEC’s administrative functions,” the petition read.

Marcos has dismissed the petitions to cancel his COC as "nuisance," noting that he has already run before.

In a press conference on Monday, Marcos was quoted as saying in this ABS-CBN report: "Dumaan na ako sa walong halalaan. That was a case against me. Noong bumalik ako nu'n 1991 pero Syempre 'yun kalaban gusto maglagay ng bagong issue. 'Yun mga abogado naman na nakakausap ko, sabi it's a nuisance petition." (I went through eight elections. That was a case against me. When I returned in 1991, but of course our opponents want a new issue. Lawyers I have talked to said it's a nuisance petition.)

On questions that Marcos was able to run in past elections, they told the Comelec: “It is basic in law that estoppel does not lie against the state, including the Honorable Commission.”

They cited the 2016 ruling of the SC where it said that estoppel “generally finds no application against the State when it acts to rectify mistakes, errors, irregularities, or illegal acts of its officials and agents, irrespective of rank.”

The group continued that while the Comelec may have previously failed to cancel Marcos’ COC in the past based on a ground already present then, it does not prevent the commission from ruling otherwise in the present since the same basis exists.

2022 ELECTIONS 2022 POLLS BONGBONG MARCOS COMELEC
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