By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Another petition for certiorari was filed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking to reverse the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) dismissal of the petitions to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the presidential race. This time, the petitioners are victims of martial law.
Bonifacio Ilagan, convenor of Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), lamented that Marcos Jr. being able to run “is not only a blatant mockery but a shameless bastardization of our democracy and electoral exercise.”
He added that the questionable win of Marcos Jr. and the Comelec en banc’s dismissal of their petition to disqualify him “rubs salt on the wounds of injustice.”
“It is a slap on the faces of all the victims who suffered unspeakable atrocities under the Marcos dictatorship,” Ilagan said in a statement.
Citing Marcos Jr.’s conviction on violating the National Internal Revenue Code for failure to file income tax returns and for failure to pay alleged deficiency taxes, the petitioners assert that he is disqualified to run for public office.
The petitioners said that Marcos, Jr.‘s failure to file his income tax returns on four consecutive years, from 1982 to 1985 when he was the Vice Governor and Governor of Ilocos Norte, cannot be regarded as a simple omission.
“It shows an utter disregard of the laws which, as chief executive of the province of Ilocos Norte, Respondent, convicted candidate Marcos, Jr., took an oath to uphold. It is the repeated, deliberate, willful, and intentional violation of the tax code that makes such violation a crime involving moral turpitude,” the petition read.
Ilagan was joined by fellow petitioners Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto Vice Chairperson Danilo Dela Fuente, former Human Rights Victims Claims Board member Dr. Erlinda Senturias, and former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo along with their legal counsel Atty. Howard Calleja in filing the petition for certiorari before the high court.
The petitioners also include Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chair Dr. Carol Araullo, indigenous leader Joanna Cariño, Karapatan chair Elisa Tita Lubi, former Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza, urban poor leaders Trinidad Herrera-Repuno and Carmencita Florentino, and Prof. Doroteo Abaya Jr.
Religious leaders are also among the petitioners including Sr. Arabella Balingao of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Sr. Cherry Ibardaloza of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, Sr. Susan Esmile of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and Rev. Homar Rubert Distajo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, as well as youth leaders.
Counsel for the petitioners Howard Calleja in a statement said, “We are mindful of the duty of Congress to convene and proclaim a president, however the Supreme Court likewise has a duty to uphold the rule of law regardless of any political exercise or issue. We trust the integrity of all the justices of the Supreme Court and believe in their independence.”
He added that they pray for an immediate resolution to their petition. “We stand by the principles of truth and justice. As a fruit of a poisonous tree, No victory can be attained through lies and deceit. A disqualified and convicted candidate remains as such and no election can overshadow that,” Calleja added.
Meanwhile, Bonifacio said that their petition to disqualify Marcos Jr. is more than a legal issue, but, above all, “a moral and historical issue.”
“We assert that a convict, liar, and unrepentant son of an ousted dictator like Marcos Jr. should have never been allowed to run for public office, let alone the highest position in the land. The Supreme Court must uphold truth, justice, and democracy, and heed our calls to disqualify Marcos Jr. now,” Ilagan said. (RTS, JJE)