The Manila Times : Law professor doubts whether Marcos disqualification case will prosper

4 November 2021

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

AN election law professor on Thursday voiced doubt that the disqualification case (DQ) against presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will push through.

A group of political detainees, human rights and medical organizations petitioned the Commission on Elections on Tuesday to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy (CoC) for president in the 2022 national elections due to some legal issues.

In a 57-page petition, they claimed that Marcos, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer, is not eligible to run for any public office since the Quezon City Regional Trial Court had convicted him in 1995 for tax evasion.

However, the Marcos camp said lawyer Alberto Agra, from Ateneo de Manila University, said the disqualification case filed against the former senator before the poll body "lacked a crucial component."

Agra said that after Marcos questioned the Quezon City decision before the Court of Appeals, it reduced the penalty and was merely ordered to pay a fine. A tax evasion conviction carried a jail term.

"Isang basehan para hindi ka puwedeng manungkulan ay kung ikaw ay sentensiyado sa isang krimen na (One of the basis that will prevent you to hold public office is that you've been sentenced to) more than 18 months or crime involving moral turpitude," he said.

"Hindi siya (He was not) sentenced to imprisonment," said Agra in an interview.

He continued, "Ang nangyari siya ay nahatulan pero ang kanyang parusa ay walang imprisonment (What happened was he was sentenced but his punishment does not carry imprisonment)."

"Ang parusa niya ay fine lamang (His penalty was only a fine). Pag hindi ka lang nag-file or peke ang iyong finile, hindi yun (If you failed to file or you filed a fake [imcome tax returns] that was not a) crime involving moral turpitude dahil wala namang (because there was no) fraud (involved)," he added.

Marcos' camp, in a statement, said Agra's position showed the "ill-natured intent of those pushing for his disqualification."

Vic Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesman, has assured the public that the former senator "remains focused on nation-building and turning his clear vision of creating a better future for the country and every Filipino into reality."