There is another legal obstacle to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s candidacy for president in the May 2022 election.
The former senator has apparently disregarded a ruling by a Quezon City Regional Court of First Instance (RTC) which convicted him of tax evasion in 1995, according to a document obtained by a group of petitioners challenging his presidential candidacy.
In a one-page certification, the officer in charge of Branch 105 of the Quezon City RTC, Rowena Sto. Tomas Bacud said there was no document in the court’s possession showing that Marcos had complied with his order to address his tax deficiencies and pay the appropriate fine as a penalty.
Bacud also said the court had no record regarding the “entry into the penal roll” of his decision and the subsequent decision of the Court of Appeal (CA) which upheld Marcos’ conviction with modification.
The certification was issued Thursday at the request of lawyers, led by former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te, from a group of petitioners. Marcos had previously called for his sentence to be respected.
His spokesperson Victor Rodriguez reiterated it on Friday, saying: “We have complied and are very confident in our response as submitted. [to the Commission on Elections, or Comelec]. “
When asked if Marcos paid income tax outside of the fines imposed, Rodriguez said he knew the answer but would not say it because the petitioners themselves should have been careful. due diligence.
He said he would not provide them with the missing facts necessary for their petition.
“Sentence not served”
On July 27, 1995, the Quezon City RTC returned a guilty verdict for Marcos’ non-payment of taxes and failure to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 while he was vice-governor and, later , governor of Ilocos Norte.
The CA upheld the decision in 1997, but saved the late dictator’s son and namesake from a prison sentence of up to six years.
Marcos filed an appeal with the Supreme Court and withdrew it in 2001, making the CA’s decision final and binding.
Te Friday said the court document showed Marcos evaded his sentence and repeatedly tampered with his eligibility when running for elected office.
“The certification only cements what we have already said in the petition. The respondent has been found guilty and the sentence has still not been served, ”Te said in a statement.
“He remains ineligible because the sanction imposed by the NIRC, as amended by the CA, and the automatic result of a conviction under the NIRC…
It also proved Marcos’ intention to deceive the electorate and disobey the laws he aspires to enforce, ”Te added.
The certification supported the earlier suspicions of retired Senior Deputy Supreme Court Judge Antonio Carpio that Marcos had not yet fulfilled his obligation to pay his debts, as ordered by the court.
Proof of payment
Wanted on Friday, Carpio said the court’s certification would further support the petitioners’ claim that Marcos should be disqualified from running for president because of his conviction for tax evasion.
“If he can’t show a receipt or proof of payment, then he’s been lying again,” Carpio told the Inquirer. When asked if it was possible that Marcos had complied with the court order but the documents were simply not in his possession, Carpio replied: “It is possible, but highly unlikely.
“And if he paid the income tax and the victim fine, he would have to present the receipt,” said the retired judge. Carpio also said that Marcos “had already admitted” that he had not addressed his fiscal deficit because, as he raised in his response to the inmates’ petition from the Philippines Task Force (TFDP) et al. , the court order did not indicate the amount he had to pay.
The RTC certification was issued the day two other petitions opposing Marcos’ candidacy were filed with Comelec, bringing the number of such pleadings to seven.
One of the latest petitions was presented by alleged leaders and members of Marcos’ adoptive party, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), who questioned his membership and appointment as standard bearer.
Rodriguez mocked the allegations of the commissioner of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Abubakar Mangelen, who claimed to be the real president of the PFP, regarding Marcos.
7 page response
“This is a rather late act on the part of someone who would love to follow what is happening now with all the petitions filed” against Marcos, he said, adding:
“I don’t know where this guy is from but when you look at the allegations in the petition, [they’re] All The same.”
In response to the petition previously filed by the TFDP and other groups representing victims of rights violations during martial law, Marcos argued that he had all the qualifications of a president and had already been elected. in government positions, including provincial governor, district representative and senator.
His response included a prayer for the face-to-face arguments.
In a seven-page response his lawyers led by Estelito Mendoza filed on November 19, Marcos argued that the petition filed against him by a group of martial law survivors should be dismissed as “devoid of any allegation” that would justify his disqualification. under the electoral omnibus code.
He also told Comelec that he was previously elected governor, district representative and senator.
“In view of the qualifications of the various elective positions to which he has been elected and occupied …, it is a common knowledge that the respondent has all the qualifications of a president under … of the Constitution”, one reads in part of the answer.
He also insisted that his conviction for tax evasion did not amount to committing a crime involving “moral turpitude” as claimed by the applicants.
With reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Tina G. Santos
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download from 4 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.