7 November 2021

By Pilipino Mirror

The Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas Nilo T. Divina said today that the attempt by certain anti-Marcos forces to delist Bongbong from the roster of applicants for the 2022 presidential race will most likely fail for lack of merits.

“As I see it, the petition to cancel BBM’s Certificate of Candidacy is bound to collapse once evaluated by the Comelec because it appears to be defective in form and offers insufficient legal basis to obtain its desired judgement,” said Divina.

The law expert of the prestigious Catholic university and head of the reputable Divina Law Office noted that instead of presenting factual statements and legal basis to support its claim of BBM’s ineligibility to run for the presidency, the narratives of the 57-page petition lay down invectives in almost all pages against the family of respondent Marcos.

“It’s ad hominem, or an attack against the character of the respondent, that may weaken the petitioners position. It is the law, always, that matters. However, it is the intent that invokes the law that often justifies or bungles it. But at the end of the day, the law remains, the law,” stressed Divina.

Divina was the second legal luminary from illustrious law universities who’ve expressed opinions against a petition which sought to cancel or deny BBM’s CoC because he failed to file his Income Tax Returns during the turbulent years of his father’s administration.

The other day, Ateneo University law expert and former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra argued that the petition filed with the Comelec to cancel the CoC of Bongbong Marcos has no basis and is unlikely to move forward.

In an interview with DZRH, Agra said it was clearly stated in the Omnibus Election Code that Marcos was qualified to run for the presidency in next year’s election because he has no shortcomings in his CoC submission.

“Nakalagay sa Omnibus Election Code natin na kailangan ay hindi convicted. Ibang termino ang nakalagay sa batas. Ang nakalagay sa batas ay kailangan sentenced, may final judgement of imprisonment. Ang nangyari nang binasa ko ang kaso, wala si presidentiable BBM, hindi siya sentenced to imprisonment. Guilty siya to pay fine,” Agra explained.

The Ateneo law professor clarified that he is not a Marcos’ lawyer or supporter, but based on his analysis of the petition, it appears that the case is not tax evasion but simply a failure to file his ITR.

Agra said the law states that to cancel the CoC of any candidate, he or she must be found guilty and punished with more than 18 months of imprisonment or be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

“Moral turpitude, kung medyo halang ka, bastos, immoral, talagang gustong mandaya o manggulang. Ang tanong ngayon ay yun bang hindi pag-file ng income tax return yun ba ay crime involving moral turpitude? Siyempre hindi,” Agra added.