Voting 2-0, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the consolidated disqualification cases against presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The given cause was ‘lack of merit.’
The announcement was made through a Tweet by Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez: “The consolidated petitions of Ilagan v. Marcos Jr., Akbayan v. Marcos Jr., and Mangelen v. Marcos Jr. have been dismissed for lack of merit, by the COMELEC’s 1st Division.”
Both Commissioner Marlon Casquejo and petition ponente Commissioner Aimee Ferolino are members of the First Division of Comelec.
The 45-page resolution reads, in part: ““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 (National Internal Revenue Code). Both Petitioners Ilagan et al. and Akbayan et al. cited Section 252 of the 1977 NIRC, which upon Our verification, is a provision pertaining to the “‘Falsification, or counterfeiting, restoration, or alteration of documentary stamps; possession or use of false, counterfeit, restored, or altered stamps.”
It went on to say that: “However, a further review of the 1977 NIRC would belie Petitioner’s claim; while there was indeed a provision on perpetual disqualification, the same is applicable only on unlawful possession or removal of articles subject to specific tax without payment of tax. To be clear, the penalty of perpetual disqualification came into force only upon the effectivity of P.D. No. 1994 on 01 January 1986. Thus, the penalty cannot be made to apply to Respondent’s tax violations, which were committed before the effectivity of the said law, in accord with the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.”
When it comes to the conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude and the 18-month imprisonment penalty, the ruling was also in Marcos Jr.’s favor.
“Was respondent meted with the penalty of imprisonment of 18 months? Similar to the imposition of perpetual disqualification, We also find that the penalty of imprisonments was absent in the Court of Appeals (CA) decision,” it said.
The First Division said the failure to file tax returns is not inherently wrong “in the absence of a law punishing it,” a statement that has become controversial in itself.
Photo: The Manila Times