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Manila Bulletin : Bongbong Marcos' camp: tax evasion case is not a crime involving moral turpitude

News & Interviews
12 December 2021

By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s tax evasion case is not a crime that puts in question his morality so he could be not disqualified from seeking the highest post in the country, his camp believed.

Citing an opinion piece wrote by US-based Law Dean and Filipino Lawyer Emmanuel Tipon, Marcos Jr.’s camp on Sunday said he could not be disqualified from seeking presidency under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) for having been sentenced for not filing income tax returns “since it is not a crime involving moral turpitude.”

Their defense came amid the growing number of petitions and disqualification petitions filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against him.

Citing Tipon’s opinion again, Marcos Jr.’s camp said the OEC does not define “what constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude,” therefore, “like beauty, a crime involving a moral turpitude is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Furthermore, he (Tipon) pointed out that the Supreme Court ‘specifically held that Marcos’ ‘failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude,’ hence he was not disqualified from becoming an executor of his father’s will back in 2009,” his camp said.

Marcos Jr.’s camp also asserted Tipon’s legal opinion that presidential aspirant indeed meets the provision of the constitution that requires anyone running for presidency to be a Filipino citizen.

According to his camp, Tipon is now among the “growing number” of lawyers who neither support not lawyer Marcos Jr. but have rendered their legal views that are favorable to his candidacy.

Last month, his camp said, Ateneo Law Professor and former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said that the disqualification case against Marcos has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.

The view was also shared by University of Santo Tomas College of Law Dean Nilo Divina when he said that the petition filed against Marcos’ certificate of candidacy would likely fail because it is defective in form and lacks sufficient legal basis, Marcos Jr.’s camp added.