Marcos faces another disqualification suit over unfiled tax returns

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Marcos faces another disqualification suit over unfiled tax returns
This photo release shows the multi-sectoral protest action conducted on December 2 as Akbayan filed a petition for disqualification against presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos.
Akbayan Partylist Facebook release

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:58 p.m.) — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is facing another legal challenge at the Commission on Elections even as he and his slate tour the provinces.

Leaders of Akbayan party-list and martial law victim-survivors filed on Thursday a petition for disqualification against Marcos, the second of the same legal challenge against the aspirant’s presidential bid.

In a statement, Akbayan party-list said they cited the 1995 conviction of Marcos in asserting that he is perpetually barred from running for public office.

Earlier filed petitions, including those that sought the cancellation of Marcos’ Certificate of Candidacy, also cited this trial court conviction on his failure to file Income Tax Returns for multiple years.


Akbayan party-list also raised the 2012 Jalojos, Jr. v. Comelec case at the Supreme Court in their petition. Part of the decision on that case reads: "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 propio bar from running for public office those suffering from perpetual special disqualification by virtue of a final judgment."

This argument was also cited by the petition-in-intervention to cancel Marcos’ COC filed by tax professionals that remains pending before the Comelec’s Second Division.

They also claimed that Marcos continued to commit the offense of failure to file his ITRs for the years of 1982, 1983, and 1984 when Presidential Decree 1994, which imposed the penalty of perpetual disqualification on violators of the National Internal Revenue Code, was released.

Although the petition did not reference it, this was among the defenses raised by the officers of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas that filed an answer-in-intervention to defense the bid of their presidential bet Marcos.

PFP said: "It is clear that for the taxable years of 1982 to 1984, [Marcos] failed to file his tax returns before the effectivity of PD 1994. Therefore, the penalty of perpetual disqualification which was introduced by PD 1994 cannot be applied to [Marcos’]  failure to file his tax returns for taxable years 1982 to 1984.”

For the year of failure to file ITR for the tax year 1985 — alleged commission of offense would fall on April 1986, when PD 1994 was already in effect — the intervenors said Marcos was already in exile at that time.

But Akbayan petitioners argued that this means Marcos, from Jan. 1 to April 16, 1986, was committing the offense of failure to file ITR.

"During this time, he was a public officer, being then the Governor of Ilocos Norte. 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 told the Comelec.

“Petitioners therefore respectfully submit that the Respondent should be disqualified as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines on the ground of his final conviction for a crime that carries with it the penalty of imprisonment of more than 18 months,” they added

Amid the increasing number of petitions blocking their presidential bid, Marcos' campaign team remains unfazed. The presidential aspirant and his running-mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are visiting several areas of the vote-rich province of Batangas on Thursday.

Referring to the petitioners as "disillusioned groups," Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said they respect their right to "take whatever legal action they think would best serve their own agenda, as we also expect them to respect our right to be heard."

He also claimed that the petitions are part of the efforts of "a group with negative view" to "oppress" Marcos.

"But while they attempt to block the presidential bid of Marcos by defamatory allegations, the BBM-Sara Uniteam will continue to push for their goal to unite the country amid a pandemic," Rodriguez added in Filipino.

Marcos petitions

Marcos, through his lawyer Estelito Mendoza, has already submitted a five-page verified answer to the first petition to cancel COC, filed by martial law victims through lawyer Theodore Te.

They had told the Comelec that the petition is "bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code." A copy of Marcos’ answer has yet to be made public.

The Comelec’s Second Division, which is handling the first petition for cancellation of COC filed against Marcos, has ordered the legal team of the presidential aspirant and the petitioners to file their respective comments on the Answers-in-Intervention filed by the PFP officials.

The petitioners, through Te, had already asked the Comelec to expunge the defense filed by the PFP that also sought the dismissal of their plea.

Both parties are given a non-extendible period of five days to submit their answer.

Marcos is also facing a separate petition for disqualification, again prepared by Calleja, from martial law victims. That petition was raffled off to Comelec’s First Division.

He also reportedly faces a petition for cancelation of COC from a certain Tiburcio Marcos who purports that the dictator's son is an impostor.

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