FORMER Justice Secretary and Ateneo Law School professor Atty. Alberto Agra has argued that the petition filed to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of former Senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.
In a radio interview, Agra said it was clearly stated in the Omnibus Election Code that Marcos was qualified and had no shortcomings in his COC submission.
The lawyer clarified that he is not Marcos’s lawyer or supporter, but based on his analysis of the case, it appears that Marcos’s case is not tax-evasion but simply failure to file his income tax return (ITR).
The law states that in order to cancel the COC of any candidate, he or she must be found guilty and punished with more than 18 months imprisonment and be convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude.”
Agra also pointed out that there is no final judgment in Marcos’s case because it has not yet reached the Supreme Court (SC).
“Guilty siya [for failure to file ITR] pero multa lang, walang imprisonment,” Agra noted, explaining that this is far from the basis for disqualifying a candidate.
He further asserted that the Court has already made a decision that also clarified the issue.
“In the same case na ponente si Justice Antonio Carpio, sinabi ng Supreme Court na ang crime involving moral turpitude kung fraudulent filing of the tax return. Hindi moral turpitude kung non-filing of the income tax return. Magiging moral turpitude ang non-filing kung may halong fraud,” Agra said.
In the case of Marcos: “Hindi siya moral turpitude kasi hindi naman napatunayan na may fraud,” he added.
Marcos’s camp had earlier said that the new petition filed against them was rubbish and only part of the opponent’s “dirty or gutter politics.”