By Xhiela Mie Cruz


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc upheld the rejection of four cases against former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.'s presidential campaign, with the election results all but determined.

To remember, Marcos Jr. faced three distinct disqualification petitions brought by Martial Law survivors led by Bonifacio Ilagan of the Akbayan Citizens Action Party and Abubakar Mangelen of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, the party Marcos was running for.

"I painstakingly scoured [their] motion for reconsideration and it does not contain any paragraph nor even just a sentence which is meant to address [the] pronouncements by the assailed resolution," in a separate concurring opinion, Comelec commissioner Socorro Inting wrote.

The petitions were based on a judgment by the QC RTC Branch 105, which found Marcos Jr. guilty of violating the National Internal Revenue Code's Sections 45 and 50, for failing to file ITRs and pay taxes for the years 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985. Marcos Jr. also received a cumulative term of at least nine years in jail and a fine.

On the assertion that Marcos should be permanently barred by Presidential Decree No. 1994, which went into effect on January 1st, 1986, the committee found that the accessory penalty could not be applied to tax offenses committed before the law's effective date.

They further stated that Marcos has never been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and sentenced to more than three years in jail by a final decision. 

They cited Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, which states that anybody "sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a felony involving moral turpitude" is unable to run for public office.

The commissioners cited the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, in which the Supreme Court declared that failure to file tax reports as a public officer is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo agreed with the ruling in a separate concurring opinion, but stated that the Comelec "does not hold a general or comprehensive power of review over the decision of the courts" and thus cannot determine whether a judgment of a court of law on a tax-related case is void.

"We are not authorized to inquire into why a putative required accessory penalty is included or not written into such rulings; we are not even allowed to overrule a verdict in a tax evasion case by an appeal court," he said.

This part of the case, according to Casquejo, "has not been adequately addressed" and "should have been given full respect in order to quell any legal inquiries that may have arisen as a result of it."

However, he went on to say that the declaration was "only a notion put up by the petitioners," and that "any action to contest it must be brought using the proper remedy and submitted with the relevant tribunal."

Marcos Jr. is leading the race for the country's highest office, marking his family's second effort to reclaim Malacanang after the clan patriarch was ousted.

Copyedited by Kyla Balatbat