Martial law survivors called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the poll body hears petitions to cancel the former senator’s certificate of candidacy for the presidency in next year’s national elections.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said Marcos Jr. should never be allowed to hold or run for public office because he is a convicted tax evader.
“A thief, a liar, a convicted tax evader, and the unrepentant son of an ousted dictator should never be allowed to hold or run for public office — much more the highest and most powerful position in the land,” CARMMA said in a statement.
CARMMA is a group of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law rule in the 1970s to 1980s.
The group said that to allow the presidential aspirant to again run for office is not only a blatant mockery but a shameless bastardization of the country’s democracy and electoral exercise.
CARMMA and other human rights groups earlier filed petitions against Marcos Jr. citing his 1995 tax evasion charges conviction by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC-RTC) and subsequent upholding of the decision by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 1997.
The government said the former senator had tax deficiencies amounting to P8,504 while he was Ilocos Norte vice governor and governor from 1982 to 1985.
During trial, Marcos Jr. blamed his staff for the crime, saying he always thought that his employees took care of filing his income tax returns.
The QC-RTC imposed a four year cumulative imprisonment sentence and a cumulative fine of P42,000 against Marcos Jr.
In upholding the QC-RTC decision, however, the CA removed the prison sentence and reduced the fine to P36,000, saying Marcos was not given due notice when the tax assessments were made.
The CA also acquitted Marcos Jr of the charge of not paying his income taxes.
CARMMA however said the late dictator’s son is still convicted of failing to file his income tax returns and should be perpetually disqualified from holding any government post in accordance with the Omnibus Election Code.
The Code’s Section 12 states that a person shall be disqualified from running for public office if he had been sentenced by final judgment “for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude.”
The petitioners said that Marcos Jr.’s failure to pay his income taxes for four consecutive years while in power as a high government official constitutes moral turpitude.
“Having tasted unlimited powers, the Marcoses are now paving their return to Malacañang with Marcos Jr.’s bid for the presidency and their historical distortions and whitewashing of their atrocities funded by the millions they have stolen from the people,” CARMMA said.
The group said it is Comelec’s duty to settle the petitions to safeguard and defend democracy that were restored when the Marcoses were ousted in 1986.
“We must never again allow despots, tyrants, criminals, and liars to lord it over our land,” CARMMA said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)