Petitioners in the Marcos DQ case to appeal dismissed cases

Some Martial Law survivors and petitioners will appeal the disqualification case against a Bongbong Marcos which was dismissed by Commission on Elections (Comelec) division, a decision questioned because of a tax-related conviction.

The Comelec First Division made public its decision to dismiss the disqualification petition against former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. due to “lack of merit.”

“There might have been some misappreciation of the facts and of the law, so that’s why we are filing for a motion for [reconsideration],” said Howard Calleja, lawyer for petitioner Bonifacio Ilagan, convenor of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law, Friday.

“If they would like to retain their ruling, which they have all the right to do… My only request is that they decide it as fast as they can so that we can bring the matter to the Supreme Court at the soonest possible time. We only have 88 or 87 days before the election.”

On January 31, the Comelec issued a “separate opinion” by former Commissioner Rowena Guanzon. She was then among those handling the case-that Marcos should be disqualified for “moral turpitude” in not filing income tax returns in 1982-1985, which resulted in the conviction of BBM. However, the decision was not issued immediately until Guanzon retired.

Petitioners in the Marcos DQ case to appeal dismissed cases

One is a criminal conviction involving “moral turpitude” on the grounds of being disqualified from running in an election, according to the Omnibus Election Code.

But when the final decision of the First Division was promulgated yesterday, Comelec insisted that the failure to file tax returns was “not immoral”: “We submit that it is not. The failure to file tax returns is not inherently wrong in the absence of a law punishing it,” according to the Comelec First Division.

“The said omission became punishable only through the enactment of the Tax Code. Moreover, even the 1977 NIRC recognizes that failure to file income tax is not a grave offense as the violation thereof may be penalized only by a fine. Though there was the penalty of imprisonment, the 1977 NIRC gave the court the discretion to either impose a fine, imprisonment, or both.”

“Whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of the statute. After carefully examining each argument of the parties and the circumstances surrounding Respondent’s failure to file income tax, We find to rule in Respondent’s favor. To determine if a crime involves moral turpitude, the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that it must be approached on a case-to-case basis.”

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