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Comelec dismisses final disqualification case vs. Bongbong Marcos Jr. due to ‘lack of merit’

By Hannah Mallorca Published Apr 20, 2022 12:45 pm

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) first division has junked the last pending disqualification case against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 

The disqualification case, which was filed by the group Pudno nga Ilokano, was dismissed by the COMELEC “due to lack of merit.” 

Pudno nga Ilokano has filed a disqualification case against Marcos Jr. in December 2021, citing Marcos Jr.'s previous conviction by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for failure to file his income tax returns for 1982 to 1985, when he was serving as the governor of Ilocos Norte. It also included Marcos Jr.’s failure to pay the subsequent deficiency taxes. 

According to COMELEC’s ruling dated April 20, Marcos Jr.’s failure to file his income tax returns is not an instant of “moral turpitude.”

“Respondent possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications under the 1987 Constitution and relevant laws. As such, the dismissal of this Petition is in order.”

“There could be no attempt on his part, for his failure to file the necessary income tax returns, to evade and defeat the tax as he has in fact paid his tax obligations for the taxable years here involved under the withholding tax system,” part of the Comelec’s 29-page ruling read. 

The ruling was signed by COMELEC presiding commissioner Socorro Inting and commissioners Aimee Ferolino and Aimee Torrefranca-Neri.

Marcos Jr.’s chief of staff and spokesperson Atty. Vic Rodriguez said in a statement that COMELEC’s ruling proves that “elections are settled through ballots” and “not through abuse of our judicial processes.” 

“The [COMELEC] has affirmed and settled the last petition for disqualification: Presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos Jr. possesses all the qualifications needed to aspire for, campaign, and serve as president of the Republic of the Philippines,” Rodriguez added.

There is no word yet on whether the petitioners plan to appeal the decision.