Join the campaign (Learn More)

UST law dean says attempts to stop Marcos from joining the 2022 presidential race likely to fail

Press Releases
7 November 2021

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 petitioner's 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.

-30-

Divina.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.divinalaw.com/news-and-updates/downtime-dean-divina/

FILIPINO VERSION

UST LAW DEAN: PETISYON UPANG TUTULAN ANG PAGTAKBO  NI MARCOS SA PAGKA-PANGULO TILA’Y MABIBIGO

Mismong ang dekano ng prestihiyosong University of Santo Tomas College of Law na si Atty. Nilo Divina ay nagsabi ngayon na ang pagtatangka ng ilang puwersang anti-Marcos na maalis sa listahan ng mga tatakbo sa pagka-pangulo sa 2022 si Bongbong ay tila’y mabibigo dahil sa kawalan ng merito.

"Sa nakikita ko, ang petisyon na kanselahin ang CoC ni BBM ay tiyak na guguho sa kapag nasuri ng Comelec dahil mukhang depektibo sa anyo at kulang ang legal na basehan para sa gusto nitong mangyari," wika ni UST College of Law Dean Dino Divina.

Ang law expert ng nasabing prestihiyosong Katolikong unibersidad at pinuno ng bantog na Divina Law Office ay napansin na imbes na maglabas ng mga makatotohanang pahayag o legal na basehan upang suportahan ang kanilang bintang laban kay BBM, ang salaysay ng 57-pahinang petisyon ay naglalaman lamang ng pang-aalipusta sa pamilyang Marcos.

"Ito'y ad hominem, o atake laban sa karakter ng respondent na maaaring magpahina sa posisyon ng petitioners.  Ang batas palagi ang siyang mahalaga.  Ngunit, ang intensiyon ng panawagan ng batas ang siyang magbibigay-katwiran o ikakasablay nito," diin pa ni Divina.

Pangalawa si Divina sa mga legal luminaries mula sa mga presithiyosong law universities na nagpahayag ng opinyon na hindi sang-ayon sa petisyon na naglalayong kanselahin o i-deny ang CoC ni BBM dahil lamang nabigo siyang mag-file ng Income Tax Returns sa panahong pilit na ginugulo ang administrasyon ng kanyang ama.

Kamakalawa lamang ay nagpahayag ng kanyang paniniwala si Ateneo University law expert at dating Justice Secretary Alberto Agra na ang petisyon na inihain sa Comelec laban kay Bongbong ay walang basehan at malamang na hindi uusad.

Sa kanyang panayam sa DZRH,  sinabi ni Agra na malinaw na nakasaad sa Omnibus Election Code na si Marcos ay kwalipikadong tumakbo sa darating na halalan dahil wala siyang mga pagkukulang sa kanyang isinumiteng CoC.

“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,” paliwanag pa ni Agra.

Nilinaw ng nasabing Ateneo law professor na hindi siya abogado o tagasuporta ni Marcos, ngunit ayon sa kanyang pagsusuri sa petisyon, lumalabas na ang kaso ay hindi tax evasion kundi isang simpleng kabiguang pag-file ng ITR.

Sinabi ni Agra na ayon sa batas, upang makansela ang CoC ng isang kandidato, siya ay dapat mapatunayang nagkasala at naparusahan ng mahigit na labing-walong buwang pagkakakulong o kaya ay nahatulan ng krimen na may kinalaman sa 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,” dagdag pa ni Agra.

-30-