DECLARING there was no material misrepresentation by presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. when he filed his certificate of candidacy for the May polls, the Comelec’s Second Division dismissed on Monday one of the cases seeking to take him out from the race.
The decision, penned by Commissioner Socorro Inting, said that following Supreme Court jurisprudence, material misrepresentation is something that affects the eligibility of a candidate.
In this case, the Comelec verdict on the case filed by Buenafe et al seeking to cancel Marcos Jr’s COC turned to the Court of Appeals decision on his tax case, which petitioners insisted the former senator misrepresented when he ticked the “No” box in the COC portion asking if he had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
The Second Division noted that the CA decision on the tax case of BBM, arising from his failure to file income tax returns (ITRs) in the 80s, did not contain any disqualification provision, said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez in a briefing.
Next, the Comelec said the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1994 did not apply to the case, because that would have resulted in a retroactive application as NIRC took effect only in 1996; cases on this case involved 1982, 1983, 1984.
Hence, when Marcos Jr. checked “no” on the COC, there was no material misrepresentation.
The Second Division also noted that failure to file an ITR is not a crime involving moral turpitude. Besides Inting, the other members of the Second Division are Commisioners Antonio Kho and Rey Bulay.
In a statement after the ruling was announced, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’s chief of staff and spokesman, said:
“The petitioners’ mere creativity for writing and wanting what is not written in the law as basis to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Presidential Aspirant Bongbong Marcos is way too frivolous and unmeritorious to override the basic precepts of the Constitution.
“We thank the Commission on Elections for upholding the law and the right of every bona fide candidate like Bongbong Marcos to run for public office free from any form of harassment and discrimination.
“After granting the petitioners’ right to have their day in court where their case was fully heard and ventilated, the Comelec has unanimously spoken — the petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Bongbong Marcos was denied.
“We extend our hand of unity even to the fiercest of adversary and invite them to work together in ensuring a clean, fair and credible elections as our initial collective contribution towards nation-building for the future of our people, the Filipino children and the youth, and for our beloved Philippines to move forward.”