‘Petitioners, not Marcos, made misrepresentations’

20-Jan-2022 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The allegation of misrepresentation in the disqualification case against presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has boomeranged on its petitioners.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has called out the petitioners in the disqualification case for their misrepresentation in the dismissed petition.

Citing portions of the 32-page ruling by the Second Division released last Monday, the camp of Marcos said petitioners represented by former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te deliberately attempted to deceive the poll body.

For instance, they cited how petitioners represented by Te were branded by the Comelec as “shameless” in misrepresenting a provision in the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

“Petitioners shamelessly cited a certain provision denominated as Section 254 of the 1977 NIRC which they alleged such provision punishes those who fail to file an ITR fine of not less than P10,000 ‘AND’ imprisonment. However, a careful reading of the actual Section 254 of the 1977 NIRC shows that it refers to rentals and royalties and mineral lands under lease,” read the ruling penned by Presiding Commissioner Socorro Inting.

The poll body said such misrepresentation on Section 254 of the NIRC to make it appear that imprisonment is mandatory punishment “reeks of deliberate intent to deceive or mislead the Commission.”

“It somehow becomes ironic when we realise the thought that herein Petitioners accuse Respondent Marcos of misrepresentation while they themselves are guilty of supposed misrepresentations in this very same proceeding,” the decision further stated.

In dismissing the petition, the Second Division branded the misrepresentation as an “obvious clutching at straws” or a desperate attempt by petitioners to convince the poll body to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of Marcos.

“Since the instant petition, which is one for cancellation or denial of due course of a COC, invoked grounds for disqualification, the instant petition should be summarily dismissed. We shall nevertheless relax compliance with the technical rules of procedure and proceed to discuss the merits if only to fully and finally settle the matter in this case because of its paramount importance,” the Comelec added in the ruling also approved by Commissioners Antonio Kho Jr. and Rey Bulay.

A consolidated disqualification case against Marcos is still pending before another Comelec division.

NTF-ELCAC support

Marcos has vowed to retain the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) created by the Duterte administration if he wins in the May elections.

The former senator said he would increase the budget of the anti-insurgency body as he hailed its performance.

“The NTF-ELCAC is good. Even if its budget was slashed, its performance did not change, it really helps communities. I think we should continue that. It is something that has a beneficial effect and it allows rebel returnees to rejoin the society,” he said in Filipino in a statement.

Marcos said he specifically plans to give more funds to the task force’s Barangay Development Programme (BDP), a flagship programme that seeks to address insurgency by bringing sustainable solutions and basic services to concerned communities.

“We have to invest in success. If the programme was successful, let’s put more funds into it, let’s continue what they are doing,” he explained.

In supporting NTF-ELCAC, Marcos slammed the “obsolete ideology peddled by local terrorist groups to lure in naive and gullible followers.”

He said the communist group’s ideology has lost support and has become irrelevant.

“If they continue in their wish to overthrow the government by violent means, how can I be on their side? Besides, the ideology that they are espousing no longer has much support,” Marcos said.

In the P5.024 trillion budget for this year, the NTF-ELCAC was allotted more than P16 billion, which is lower than the P28 billion originally proposed by the executive branch and approved by the House.

The amount, however, was bigger by at least P6 billion than the P10.8 billion approved by the Senate during budget deliberations.

Some lawmakers had called for the defunding or abolition of the task force because of the reported red-tagging activities of some of its officials.

No comment on ruling

In an interview with reporters at city hall yesterday, Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno refused to comment on the Comelec’s green light on the candidacy of the dictator’s son.

The mayor said he would rather set aside politics and focus on the city of Manila’s pandemic response.

“I just want people alive. Leave the politics to them,” said Moreno, who had been criticised for his centrist stance on the Marcoses’ attempts to return to Malacanang.

“The people are being threatened by the coronavirus infection. What the people need is a government, not politicians and their politics,” he added in Filipino.

Moreno lagged behind Marcos in the latest Pulse Asia and OCTA Research Group nationwide presidential surveys. Moreno ranked third with eight percent among 2,400 respondents in the Pulse Asia presidential reference survey conducted from December 1 to 6 and placed third with 12 percent among 1,200 respondents in the OCTA Research Survey conducted from December 7 to 12.

But Moreno led as the “alternative” candidate in both surveys among respondents when asked for their next pick should their first choice back out. Moreno got 23 percent in the Pulse Asia survey and 21 percent in the OCTA Research survey.

Meanwhile, opposition coalition 1Sambayan on Tuesday expressed concern over the decision by the Comelec’s Second Division.

In a statement, the group supporting the presidential bid of vice President Leni Robredo noted that the decision made it very clear that Marcos was convicted for the crime of non-filing of income tax return and sentenced to pay deficiency income tax and fine.

“The Second Division also received the Certification from the Clerk of Court of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court that Marcos has not paid the fine to the court. Not having paid the fine, Marcos has not served his sentence after all these years and remains a certified convict up to now,” the group said.

“While we understand and respect the authority of the Comelec, 1Sambayan will continue to monitor the developments in this issue,” it added.

According to 1Sambayan, dismissal of the petition is not final and is subject to appeal, noting that the issue of whether a crime involves “moral turpitude” is a matter that the Supreme Court can decide upon.

“Marcos remains a convicted criminal who has not served his sentence. Reasonable people can agree that such a person should not hold public office,” said 1Sambayan.

“The question to the Filipino people is, do they want a person who has been convicted of a crime, and who has not served his sentence up to now, to be their President?” it added.



Category: Philippines

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