Manila, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) 1st Division has finally dismissed the disqualification case against presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
This was confirmed by Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez on Thursday, February 10.
Jimenez cited the consolidated petitions of Bonifacio Ilagan, Abubakar Mangelen, and Akbayan.
He explained that the petitions disqualifying Marcos did not have “sufficient merit.”
The petitioners had earlier insisted that Marcos should not be allowed to run in the election because he had already been convicted of violating the Internal Revenue Code with an equivalent sentence prohibiting him from holding any position in the government.
They mentioned that in 1995, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted Marcos of failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1984.
The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld Marcos ’verdict, however, the court overturned its sentence of imprisonment. According to them, Marcos did not appeal the decision.
“Contrary to petitioners’ assertion, the penalty of perpetual disqualification by reason of failure to file income tax returns was not provided for under the original 1977 NIRC,” according to a 41 -page resolution filed by Commissioner Aimee Ferolino.
“To be clear, the penalty of perpetual disqualification came into force only upon the effectiveness of PD 1994 on 01 January 1986,” it added.
The ruling clarified that the said penalty cannot be applied to Marcos ’violation of the tax code that occurred before the said law took effect.
“The petitioners said that despite its omission from the trial court and Court of Appeals decisions, the penalty of perpetual disqualification was‘ deemed written therein. The contention lacks merit. A penalty that would deprive a citizen of his political right to be voted for in an election should be clearly, unequivocally, and expressly stated in the decision, ”the decision clarified.
The ruling also noted that Marcos’ failure to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 was not a crime related to moral turpitude.