Marcos' party defends his candidacy

Asia's Tech News Daily

THE Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) has backed the eligibility of its standard-bearer, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to seek the presidency.

The PFP asked the Commission on Elections to dismiss the petition questioning Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (CoC), saying the petitioners failed to prove that the certificate contains falsified material.

In a motion to intervene, Reynaldo Tamayo, Victor Rodriguez and Thompson Lantion, representing the PFP, argued that Marcos’ conviction for failure to file his tax returns does not bar him from holding any public office.

A petition filed by Fr. Christian Buenafe and several others alleged that Marcos cannot run for public office because he has been convicted by a Quezon City court of failure to file income tax returns (ITRs) from 1982 to 1985.

The Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decision, but ordered him to pay fines.

Tamayo’s group said the petitioners “unfortunately failed to attach any evidence proving the existence of the conviction and the alleged disqualification.”

The Court of Appeals merely stated that Marcos failed to file his tax returns, the motion stated.

Marcos was fined P2,000 for each of the charges for failure to file income tax returns for the years 1982, 1983 and 1984 and P30,000 for failure to file ITR for 1985.

The son and namesake of the former president paid the fines more than 20 years ago, the intervenors said.

The group also cited the case against Marcos and his mother, Imelda Marcos, where his qualification to serve as the executor of the estate of his father was raised.

Marcos cannot serve as executor because of his conviction for failure to file ITRs, the very same offense cited in the petition challenging his candidacy, the intervenors said.

The appellate court ruled that “the failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude as the mere omission is already a violation regardless of the fraudulent intent or willfulness of the individual,” the intervenors said.

Marcos’ lawyer, Estelito Mendoza, raised the same argument in answer to the petition to cancel his CoC.

Mendoza, a former solicitor general, also requested that the petition be taken up through a face-to-face hearing instead of a virtual or videoconference.

The petitioners argued that conviction for a crime of moral turpitude carries the same penalty of perpetual disqualification from seeking public office.

But Mendoza said the petition is “bereft of any specific allegation of a material representation required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.”

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