Inquirer.net : Petitioners to bring Marcos DQ cases to high court

By Dona Z. Pazzibugan | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — Different groups of activists and survivors of the Marcos dictatorship will bring before the Supreme Court their case to disqualify the late dictator’s son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., over his 1997 tax offense conviction.

With the former senator seemingly on the verge of clinching the presidency based on partial and unofficial election tally results on Tuesday, the seven-member Commission on Elections (Comelec) sitting as a whole (en banc) dismissed the appeals on four of the five petitions that opposed his candidacy.

All five petitions alleged that Marcos Jr. was perpetually disqualified to hold public office under the National Internal Revenue Code since he was convicted in 1997 for not filing tax returns as Ilocos Norte vice governor and then as governor from 1982 to 1985 during his father’s regime.

Except for one commissioner who abstained since he previously served as counsel of Marcos Jr., the rest of the Comelec en banc upheld the previous ruling of its two divisions that there were no grounds for his perpetual disqualification.

According to the poll body, the petitioners did not raise “new matters” in their motions for reconsideration to make the en banc reverse the divisions’ ruling.

The petitions were spearheaded by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) led by martial law survivor Bonifacio Ilagan, Akbayan party list group, and the supposed real officers of Marcos Jr.’s campaign vehicle Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

“The Comelec decision comes as no surprise but just confirms the sad state and confidence we can give them. Not only did they uphold a questionable ruling but [they] again unduly delayed its release,” said Howard Calleja, counsel for the Carmma petition.

“We are ready to bring this matter to the Supreme Court and pursue this to its rightful legal end,” he added.

A fifth disqualification case against Marcos Jr. filed by martial law survivors from Ilocos is still pending before the poll body.

Marcos Jr.’s camp, meanwhile, welcomed the Comelec ruling, saying it proved “once and for all, that no amount of undue political pressure can weaken the resolve of the honorable Commission to be on the side of truth and justice.”

—WITH A REPORT FROM JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE