Disqualify Bongbong Marcos, martial law survivors say

“Allowing Marcos Jr. to run might lead to a white-washing and further proliferation of historical revisionism of the gravely inhumane abuses and extremely grand corruption committed by his father’s dictatorship.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Martial law survivors along with religious and youth rights advocates led by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) filed a petition for disqualification against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

In an online press conference, counsel for the petitioners Howard Calleja said that the final judgment of the court finding Marcos Jr. guilty of violating the tax code perpetually disqualifies him to hold public office.

Under Section 252(c) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, any conviction of a crime penalized under said code shall perpetually disqualify any public officer or employee from holding any public office, to vote and to participate in any election.”

Read: A second look at the disqualification case vs. Marcos Jr.

Calleja said the petition is not a nuisance suit, as claimed by Marcos’s camp, but an enforcement of the tax laws.

“Citizens comply with the tax laws. If a person seeking the highest position is not complying to the law, then he should not be in that place and be disqualified,” he said.

“(S)ince he is a disqualified candidate, he is a nuisance candidate,” he added.

The petitioners asserted that Marcos’s certificate of candidacy should be cancelled for false material representation as he is actually disqualified under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code which states, “Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompentent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than 18 months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.

Among the petitioners were CARMMA conveners Bonifacio Ilagan, journalist and former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chair Dr. Carol Araullo, indigenous leader Joanna Cariño, Karapatan chair Elisa Tita Lubi, former Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto vice chair Danilo Dela Fuente, urban poor leaders Trinidad Herrera-Repuno and Carmencita Florentino, Prof. Doroteo Abaya Jr., and former Human Rights Victims Claims Board member Dr. Erlinda Senturias.

Final and executory

Calleja said that Marcos’s conviction is final and executory. While he appealed his conviction in the Court of Appeals, the court, in 1997, still upheld his conviction. However, the CA ordered Marcos to pay a fine instead of imprisonment.

The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in 1995 was imprisonment aside from paying penalties.

Marcos appealed to the Supreme Court but later on withdrew. With the SC granting his motion to withdraw, Marcos’s conviction is final and executory, Calleja said.

“With this entry of judgment, one thing that is certain and that respondent convicted candidate Marcos Jr. cannot deny, is that he is a convicted criminal. This notwithstanding, petitioners are unaware of any reports about respondent convicted candidate Marcos Jr.’s compliance or service of the penalty imposed on him,” the petition read.

Calleja said with the filing of this petition, the Comelec will correct its previous actions allowing Marcos to run for public office.

“If this happened before, it does not mean that it is right. It also doesn’t mean that our case is moot. What we are saying is that Comelec should have been more vigilant because their job is not just ministerial. They can look beyond the filing of the candidacy,” Calleja said, adding that the perpetual disqualification is no longer a question of fact.

“It’s not something for discretion to look at compared to moral turpitude which the SC has the final say on. It’s a fact that he has been convicted. It’s a fact that the conviction of the tax code carried with it the penalty of perpetual disqualification. That is no longer a factual issue,” he said.

Civic responsibility

CARMMA meanwhile reiterated that “allowing Marcos Jr. to run might lead to a white-washing and further proliferation of historical revisionism of the gravely inhumane abuses and extremely grand corruption committed by his father’s dictatorship.”

“At this defining moment of our history, the petitioners, martial law victims, are staking their good name to call upon the Honorable Commission to hold to account respondent Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., a convicted criminal, having been found guilty of four (4) counts of tax evasion, and impose upon him the penalties provided under the law, over which there was a final finding of guilt and, necessarily, disqualify him as such is what is expressly required by law, which, with due respect, the Honorable Commission has no discretion to ignore,” the petition read.

Ocampo also said that they are only doing their civic duty in filing this petition.

“We also expect the exercise of civic responsibility of the Comelec and wherever it will be referred to later up to the SC. We hope that the previous instances where there were disappointing rulings for the part of the SC, as to the burial of Marcos there are some factors at play. But we hope that this time around those factors should not come into the picture but to take into account the interest of the people,” Ocampo said.

He added that this 2022 national election is critical. This is why they are opposing the candidacy of candidates who hide their crimes to the people such as human rights violations, plunder of resources, disregard of the rule of law, lavish living among others.

“If they (the Comelec) will allow this, that they (Marcoses) will be allowed to use the wealth they stole from the people – to campaign and win the elections. Then we will not stop whatever it takes up to the SC,” Ocampo said. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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