A petition to block Bongbong Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC) for president has been filed before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The 57-page petition filed by political detainees, human rights, and medical organizations pointed out that Marcos’ candidacy “contains multiple false material representations,” arguing that he’s not eligible to run for public office “when in fact he is disqualified from doing so.”
The petitioners stressed that Marcos is a “convicted criminal” since he was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in a July 27 1995 Decision for his multiple failures to file income tax returns.
They noted that it was “upheld by the Court of Appeals and no longer appealed to the Supreme Court,” noting that it’s a final and unappealable conviction.
In its ruling, the QC court sentenced Marcos to at least nine years in jail and ordered him to pay the fine, but the CA modified the decision and "improperly" deleted the penalty of imprisonment, the petitioners noted.
Despite the conviction, a 2009 Supreme Court decision said that while it’s affirmed, the same is “still insufficient to disqualify him as the 'failure to file an income tax return' is not a crime involving moral turpitude."
The petitioners also emphasized that Marcos and his family “refused and continue to refuse” to pay “roughly PHP203.8 billion in estate taxes, inclusive of interests, surcharge, and other penalties.”
“The crimes for which Marcos was convicted by the final judgment are also crimes involving moral turpitude that disqualifies Marcos from being a candidate for any office under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code,” the statement also read.
The petitioners also argued that COMELEC has further grounds to disqualify Marcos from the presidency since his “false assertion” under oath was made “with the deliberate intent to mislead, misinform, and deceive the electorate.”
The petitioners are from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Medical Action Group Inc., Kapatid-Families and Friends of Political Prisoners, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance, and Balay Rehabilitation Center.
Their lawyer is Theodore “Ted” Te, a former spokesperson of the Supreme Court and a human rights lawyer from the Free Legal Assistance Group.
‘A predictable nuisance’
Following the human rights groups’ petition against the late dictator’s son, Marcos’ camp described the move as a “predictable nuisance petition.”
Marcos’ spokesperson and lawyer Victor Rodriguez maintained they will “refrain from commenting on their propaganda” since they don’t “engage in gutter politics,” noting their campaign focuses on “nation-building.”
The former senator’s camp also said they will address the petition at the “proper time and forum.”
PhilSTAR L!fe has reached out to Marcos’ camp for additional comment but has yet to respond, as of this writing.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, advocacy group Kapatid spokesperson and petitioner Fides Lim stressed that the petition is “not propaganda” since they’re seeking “integrity, morality, and character.”
“Ang point namin dito, si Bongbong Marcos is not at all qualified because there was willful false representation,” Lim began, asserting the petitioners’ stance. “It’s about integrity, it’s about morality, it’s about character, and (Bongbong Marcos) and the whole of the Marcos family does not have an ounce of that.”
“‘Yung Marcos family, pinipilit nila ang kanilang pamilya to occupy the highest office of the land. Tapos sinasabi nilang ‘propaganda’ ang ginagawa naming petition. Bakit nila tinatawag na propaganda, ang issue dito is that it’s about truth,” she added.
Marcos formalized his presidential bid under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan political party on Oct. 6.