By William Depasupil | The Manila Times
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has moved to resolve a petition filed by members of various cause-oriented groups seeking to cancel the certificate of candidacy (CoC) of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., an aspirant for president in the 2022 elections.
In a five-page order dated Dec. 13, 2021, the Comelec's Second Division directed the group of petitioners led by Fr. Christian Buenafe, co-chairman of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, and the Marcos camp to submit their respective memoranda within five days, in accordance with Comelec Resolution 10673.
Second Division Presiding Commissioner Socorro Inteng explained that unless the division or the commission en banc requires a clarificatory hearing, the case shall be deemed submitted for resolution upon the receipt of both parties' memoranda or upon the expiration of the period to do so, whichever comes first.
"The case is deemed submitted for resolution after the lapse of the said period," the order read.
It said "the case is deemed submitted for resolution after the lapse of the given period with or without the parties' memoranda."
If the order was received by both parties on December 17, the five-day period for the submission of their respective memoranda would lapse on December 22.
The Second Division issued the order after it denied a motion of petitioners to subpoena all documents related to a tax evasion case against Marcos, a former senator.
Also denied was a motion of the Marcos camp for face-to-face arguments on the ground that the petition refers to the highest elective position in the government.
The petitioners earlier filed a motion asking the Comelec to subpoena the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City Branch 105 to produce all the documents related to the tax evasion case against Marcos.
The Manila Times called the office of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines to get the side of Buenafe and other petitioners, but it has yet to issue a statement.
Sought by the Buenafe group from the BIR were the certified true copy of Marcos' tax compliance verification records and certified true copies of the assessment notice(s) and demand letter issued by the BIR in connection with the unpaid estate taxes for the estate of Marcos.
From the RTC, it asked, among others, for the certified true copy (CTC) of the decision on July 27,1995 rendered by the court, CTC of the decision dated Oct. 31, 1997 as remanded by the Court of Appeals (CA)-GR CR 18569, CTC of the entry of judgment of the decision dated July 27, 1995 rendered by the CA in its decision dated Oct. 31, 1997 in CA-GR CR 18569, and CTC of the proof of payment, if any.
"However, after a careful evaluation of the pleadings and pieces of evidence submitted by both parties, the commission (Second Division) finds that setting the case for clarificatory hearing and the addition of more evidence, including the subject of the subpoena prayed for by the petitioners, are no longer necessary in the resolution of the case," the poll body said.
"Doing so would only result in unnecessary delay, which is inconsistent with the summary nature of this case," it added.
Aside from Buenafe, the other petitioners were Ma. Edeliza Hernandez (executive director of the Medical Action Group), Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vivaldi and Josephine Lascano.
In their 57-page petition filed on Nov. 2, 2021, the group claimed that Marcos is not qualified to run for public office because of his conviction for multiple failure to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 while serving as governor of Ilocos Norte.
It pointed out that Marcos' conviction by final judgment perpetually disqualified him from seeking public office.
The lower court, in July 1995, sentenced Marcos to nine years of imprisonment and a fine of P72,000.
Marcos appealed his case before the CA.
The appellate court, however, upheld his conviction, but removed the penalty of imprisonment and instead, ordered him to pay the fine and the deficiency in income taxes plus interest.
Marcos is facing at least eight cases before the Comelec that are either seeking to cancel his CoC or disqualify him from the race to Malacañang next year.