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Professionals seek to join petition blocking Marcos presidential bid

REUTERS

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

SEVERAL professionals have filed a petition before the poll body to intervene in an earlier move to block the presidential run of the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.

The professionals led by medical doctor Rommel Bautista filed a so-called motion for intervention before the Commission on Elections to supplement the petition filed by six civil society leaders seeking to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Mr. Marcos, the office of their lawyer Howard M. Calleja told BusinessWorld by telephone.

The petitioners-intervenors also include Edwin Reyes, Napoleon Siongco, Fernando Guevara, Santiago Munoa Jr., Glenn Gallos, Noel Carpio, Joel Mayo, Marie Soriano, and Mario Montejo.

The intervenors said they have the right to invoke the poll body’s mandate to dutifully enforce elections laws since they are Filipino citizens and registered voters.

In the motion filed on Nov. 8, a copy of which was sent to BusinessWorld, the petitioners reiterated that Mr. Marcos Jr. was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), making him perpetually disqualified from holding any public office.

“He was charged with four counts of violating Section 45 of the old NIRC for failing to file income tax returns, and similar four counts of violating Section 50 of the old NIRC for failure to pay alleged deficiency taxes,” they said.

“The respondent made false material representation in his certificate of candidacy when he stated that he has not been found liable for an offense, which carries with it the “accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office,” they said.

The material misrepresentation is more than enough ground for the poll body to cancel Mr. Marcos’ candidacy, or to deny due course to the same, the plaintiffs said.

“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that Honorable Commission cancel outright the certificate of candidacy for president filed by Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. in connection with the 2022 National Elections for suffering perpetual disqualification from public office or that said certificate of candidacy be denied due course.”

The petition filed by civic leaders last week asserted that Mr. Marcos Jr, a former senator, is ineligible to run for office after a trial court convicted him in 1995 for failing to pay income taxes.

His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals and was never appealed before the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs said.

The poll body’s second division, which is manned by Commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho, Jr., will handle the petition filed by the civic leaders.

Mr. Inting is a retired appellate court justice while Mr. Kho is a former Justice undersecretary.

IMELDA MARCOS
Also on Tuesday, a group of martial law victims led by SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang and Martial Law (CARMMA) appealed to the Supreme Court to affirm the anti-graft court’s decision charging former first lady Imelda R. Marcos with seven counts of graft.

It has been three years since Mrs. Marcos was convicted for seven counts of graft by the Sandiganbayan for illegally funneling at least $352 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s when she was governor of Metropolitan Manila, the groups said.

“She was, however, allowed to post bail amounting to P300,000, and has also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court regarding her conviction,” the groups said in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo.

“In the interest of justice for all victims of human rights violations during the martial law period, we again appeal to this honorable Court to affirm Mrs. Imelda Marcos’ conviction by the Sandiganbayan,” they said.

SELDA Vice-chairperson Danilo Dela Fuente, said in a separate statement, “The amassing of ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos are among the reasons why the nation has sunk deeper into poverty, ballooning debt, and crisis… We will not allow more of that through another Marcos in the person of Ferdinand Jr.”

Mr. Marcos registered his presidential candidacy in October, angering activists and victims of his late father’s two-decade martial rule.

His family was forced to flee the country in 1986 after a people power uprising supported by military generals toppled his father’s regime. He was among the first to return to the Philippines from exile in the United States in 1991. — with a report from Russell Louis C. Ku

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