By Anthony Pagapulaan

PHOTO: PH Lifestyle

The announcement of the not-so-surprising decision of the Commission on Election (Comelec) to junk the disqualification cases filed against prexy bet Bongbong Marcos has sparked varying sentiments on the decision itself and the necessity of filing the Income Tax Returns (ITR) of the Filipino public.

However, for one of the former Bureau of Internal Revenue chief, negligence to file ITR is a legal offense, and is chargeable by law.

"There's a penal provision for failure to file a return," Kim Henares said on a CNN interview.

Henares cited the National Internal Revenue Code's Section 255, which states "upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not less than Ten Thousand Pesos (₱10,000) and suffer imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than ten (10) years."

Meanwhile, the Department of Finance (DOF)  on Monday highlighted the importance of filing an ITR in a Facebook post, captioned with the history of the Code which, before, had lower penalties and a briefer  jail-time for convicts. The current charges under its Section 255 were presented in 1992.

"According to the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code), not filing your required tax returns is a CRIME!" they wrote.

In 1997, BBM was convicted over not filing his ITR when he was vice governor and governor of Ilocos Norte. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

His ITR conviction hounded his aspiration for the highest post as oppositions claim this to be a moral turpitude, even the newly-retired Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon, the then chairman of the decisioning division where the consolidated case was assigned.