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The Manila Times : Lawyer blasts Carpio's 'mind-bending opinion'

News & Interviews
11 January 2022

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

AN election lawyer on Monday slammed retired justice Antonio Carpio for his "mind-bending opinion" that former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is a certified convict for not paying his income tax discrepancies.

Carpio also alleged that Marcos failed to pay the fines as ordered by the Court of Appeals (CA). However, Marcos' camp said that the former senator has already presented proof of payment.

George Briones, general counsel of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, deplored that the tax issue against Marcos became the basis for the filing of petitions before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify him.Some groups asked the Comelec to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy or remove him from the roster of presidential candidates in this year's polls.

"Carpio's mind-bending legal theory is intentional political propaganda meant to support his presidential candidate, for if BBM (Bongbong Marcos) were not leading in the surveys these DQ (disqualification) cases would not have been filed against him in the Comelec," Briones said.

"At the time Justice Carpio wrote his column on the disqualification of respondent on October 28, his presidential candidate Vice President [Maria Leonor] Leni Robredo endorsed by his 1Sambayan was trailing badly in the polls," he added.

He said that if the Comelec grants these petitions, it would establish "a terrible precedent where all candidates badly trailing in the polls will now file similar petitions to disqualify the number one in the polls."

"So, even if they actually become the loser in the elections, they will be proclaimed the winner by litigation according to the case of Jalosjos penned by Justice Carpio himself," Briones added.

He maintained that Marcos was acquitted of the tax evasion charges, thus the Court of Appeals removed the penalty of imprisonment.

Marcos, he said, was imposed a "fine" under Section 252 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), and not "perpetual disqualification" under Section 254 of NIRC.

The CA reversed the conviction of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court and acquitted him of tax evasion.

Briones said that Marcos had paid these fines and deficiency taxes.

"Assuming as Carpio said that BBM did not pay his fine in court, the failure of the court sheriff to execute said penalty of fine against Marcos has caused this penalty to prescribe under Article 89 of the RPC (Revised Penal Code) which totally extinguished his criminal liability," he said.