The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division is set to decide on the seventh and final case against presidential aspirant and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
This, as petitioners Pudno nga Ilokano — led by former Comelec chairperson Christian Monsod — and lawyers of Marcos have submitted their respective memoranda on the disqualification plea against the former senator on Monday, which marked the end of the proceedings.
The latest case filed by the group also seeks to disqualify Marcos for being found guilty of not filing his income tax returns (ITR) from 1982 to 1985, when he was vice governor and eventually governor of Ilocos Norte.
The group claimed that the presidential hopeful was not only punished with a perpetual ban from any government post, but also lost his right to vote “in any election” due to the conviction as all political aspirants must be registered voters, according to the 1987 Constitution which Monsod helped craft.
They also argued that Marcos cannot escape the punishment just because he is leading in early presidential surveys — one of the arguments repeatedly raised by his lawyers, citing latest poll results.
Meantime, the presidential aspirant’s camp insisted anew that he was allowed to run for many elective posts by the Comelec in previous years, citing his record as governor, congressman, senator, and even his attempt to be vice president.
“Even this honorable Commission has effectively ruled that Marcos is not perpetually disqualified despite the conviction by allowing Marcos to repeatedly run for office,” according to Marcos’ lawyers.
“To rule otherwise would be tantamount to admitting that this Honorable Commission had not been performing its Constitutional mandate — a clear case of culpable violation of the Constitution,” they added.
Marcos’ camp also argued that the former senator cannot be disqualified anymore as he had already paid the fines for the tax cases in December 2001.
To recall, the Comelec’s Second Division previously dismissed another petition to cancel Marcos’ Certificate of Candidacy after a month of deliberations.
In the 32-page ruling released earlier this week, the commissioners sided with the Marcos camp to refute the claim of human rights groups represented by Atty. Theodore Te that the presidential hopeful lied about his eligibility to vie for the presidency.