Petition vs. Bongbong Marcos' presidential bid filed before Comelec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 2) — Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.'s 2022 presidential bid now faces a hurdle as heads of human rights groups have filed a petition to cancel his certificate of candidacy (COC).

The petition was filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Tuesday, with the civic leaders arguing Marcos' COC contains "multiple false material representations," including his assertion that he is eligible to seek the presidency.

According to the petitioners, the late dictator's son is not qualified to run for public office "as he is, plainly, a convicted criminal."

In the 57-page document, they pointed out that Marcos was convicted in July 1995 by a Quezon City court for his multiple failures to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.

They stressed this crime "involves moral turpitude, thereby disqualifying him under the Omnibus Election Code to be a candidate and to hold any public office."

"This conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals (CA) and no longer appealed to the Supreme Court, thereby becoming a final and unappealable conviction," their statement also read.

In its ruling, the QC court sentenced Marcos to at least nine years in jail and ordered him to pay the fine, but the CA modified the decision and "improperly" deleted the penalty of imprisonment, the petitioners noted.

Despite this conviction, they said Marcos — when he filed his COC last Oct. 6 — declared under oath that he has never been found liable for any offense.

This likewise "carries the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office," the petitioners argued.

They further contended that the Comelec has sufficient grounds to disqualify Marcos, as his "false assertion" under oath was made "with the deliberate intent to mislead, misinform, and deceive the electorate."

Among the petitioners are Fr. Christian Buenafe, co-chairperson of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines; Fides Lim, board chairperson of political prisoners' group KAPATID; and Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, executive director of the Medical Action Group.

Also joining them are Celia Lagman Sevilla, secretary general of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance Inc.; Roland Vibal, Luzon representative of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates Inc.; and Josephine Lascano, executive director of the Balay Rehabilitation Center.

Unpaid estate tax

Besides the former senator's conviction, the civic leaders also called attention to the Marcos family's "refusal" to settle unpaid estate tax.

They estimate this liability to now amount to ₱203.8 billion — inclusive of interest, surcharges, and penalties.

"To date, there is no showing that the Marcos heirs have paid the estate tax," the petition read, adding this massive amount is the Filipino people's "hard-earned money."

"Furthermore, petitioners have not seen any document that will show Marcos Jr.'s filing of an estate tax return and proper payment of taxes on the estate of his father, who holds the Guinness World Records title for 'Greatest Robbery of a Government,'" it added.

The petitioners said this "repeated evasion" of duty, once again, equates to moral turpitude.

Based on the Omnibus Election Code, a petition to deny due course or to cancel a COC may be filed exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein is false. It shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than 15 days before the election.

CNN Philippines has sought comment from the Marcos camp.