Nilinaw ng tagapagsalita ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) na hindi umano sinasabi sa desisyon ng First Division, na walang parusa sa hindi paghahain ng income tax return (ITR). Kaugnay ito sa pagbasura sa disqualification case laban kay presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Batay sa desisyon ng nasabing dibisyon, sinabing ang kabiguan ni Marcos na maghain ng income tax returns noong 1982 hanggang 1985 ay hindi isang krimen na maituturing "moral turpitude," na isa sa mga basehan para madiskuwalipika ang isang kandidato.
Ayon kay Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, may mga pahayag sa desisyon na hindi kinompleto nang ilabas ng ibang tao kaya lumitaw na iba ang naging kahulugan.
Partikular umano ang usapin tungkol sa parusa sa hindi paghahain ng ITR.
"What they're doing is that they're taking that particular line out of context 'di ba? Sinabi talaga 'yan. The decision does say that but the decision was saying that in the context trying to explain between a crime mala in se versus mala prohibitum," paliwanag ni Jimenez sa virtual presser nitong Biyernes.
"This is a very important criminal law principle. What it says is that a crime mala in se is a crime that is by itself naturally wrong. For example murder, you don't need a law to tell you that murder is wrong. But there are some offenses that are mala prohibita, which means they are considered wrong under the law, only because a special law exists that criminalizes it," ayon kay Jimenez.
Patuloy pa niya, "For example, cutting down a tree, cutting down a tree is not inherently wrong but because there's a law that says cutting down a tree is wrong then it becomes wrong."
Giit ni Jimenez, mali na sabihin na inihayag ng Comelec na walang kaparusahan sa batas ang hindi paghahain ng ITR kaya okay lang na hindi maghain ng ITR.
"The Comelec is not saying that failure to file an ITR is okay because it is not. Also, very important to emphasize, failure to file an ITR is not in itself necessarily tax evasion, these are two different offenses punished differently under the law," ayon kay Jimenez.
Sinabi pa ng tagapagsalita na kung susuriin ay binanggit umano ng poll body ang batas laban sa hindi paghahain ng ITR.
"Even in the decision itself, the Comelec points out that in fact, a special law was passed to penalize failure to file ITR. So it is wrong to say that the Comelec is saying na walang offense ang failure to file ng ITR because the Comelec said mayroon nga eh," saad ni Jimenez.
Sa 41-pahinang desisyon na pinonente ni Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, ibinasura nito ang disqualification case laban kay Marcos na tumatakbong presidente sa May 2022 elections.
"Is the failure to file tax returns inherently immoral? We submit that it is not. The failure to file tax returns is not inherently wrong in the absence of a law punishing it," saad sa desisyon.
"Was there fraud in the failure to file income tax returns of respondent? We don't think so," dagdag niya.
Sinipi sa desisyon ang kasong Jose B. Aznar vs. Court of Tax Appeals, na sinabi umano ng Supreme Court na ang kabiguan ng paghahain ng income tax returns ay "a mere omission on the part of the taxpayer, thereby removing it from the ambit of acts that constitute fraud."
--FRJ, GMA News