Guanzon releases opinion disqualifying Marcos

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon with her supporters in front of the Manila Cathedral on Monday*Ray Chen Bahinting photo

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections on Monday, January 31, released her 24-page separate opinion declaring Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. disqualified from running for president of the Philippines.

The repeated and persistent failure of Marcos, then governor of Ilocos Norte, to file his income tax returns for 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985 and a court fine constitutes an offense involving moral turpitude, she said in her opinion.

At the time when Marcos chose not to comply with his duty to society, not only was he a high ranking government official, he was also the son of the president of the Philippines, Guanzon said.

Undoubtedly Marcos Jr. wielded considerable power and influence, she said.

Instead of setting a good example for his constituents to emulate, Marcos acted as if the law did not apply to him, she said.

His failure to file his tax returns for almost half a decade is reflective of a serious defect in one’s moral fiber, Guanzon said.

Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code says any person convicted of a crime or offense involving moral turpitude is disqualified to be a candidate for an elective position, she said.

Marcos’ argument that failure to file income tax returns does not involve moral turpitude fails to hold water, she said.

Using Marcos own evidence, it appears that he evaded payment of 100 percent of his income taxes in 1982, 40 percent of his income taxes in 1983, 28.7 percent of his income taxes in 1984 and 29.2 percent of his income taxes in 1985, she said.

If his failure to file his income tax was not discovered he would have successfully evaded his obligations to pay his taxes in full, she added.

“In a very real sense, respondent’s failure to file his tax returns, which in turn led to the belated discovery of deficiency taxes, had a deleterious effect on public interest,” she said.

Marcos’ failure to file his income taxes is not just a mere omission or mistake on his part but a deliberate and conscious effort to evade a positive duty required by law, Guanzon added.

Guanzon in a message delivered in front of the Manila Cathedral after attending mass Monday morning said if politicians and rich people can interfere in their decisions why is there a need.

Guanzon said she is appealing to the country’s lawmakers to require all applicants for Comelec commissioners to pass through the Judicial and Bar Council so their capabilities can be screened.

She said the delay of Commissioner Aimee Ferolino to release the resolution in the Marcos disqualification case is a “conspiracy” to defeat her vote to disqualify Marcos because she is retiring on Wednesday, February 2.

She called on all peace loving Filipinos not only to pray but to show their protests and disgusts at the delay in the release of the resolution.

The UP Women Lawyer’s Circle Inc. said a public office is a public trust. It urges the Comelec, as an independent constitutional body to avert any betrayal of that trust by a swift, fair and just resolution of the issues that impact the coming presidential elections, the group said in a statement signed by its president Arlene Lapuz-Ureta.

“We echo the call for the swift release of the result of the Comelec First Division’s vote on the disqualification cases before it. The Comelec must strictly observe its own rules and procedure and ensure that its independence is not compromised,” it said.*

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