By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Another petition for certiorari was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking to overturn the Electoral Commission’s (Comelec) rejection of motions to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the presidential race. This time, the petitioners are victims of martial law.
Bonifacio Ilagan, organizer of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcos and Martial Law (CARMMA), lamented that Marcos Jr. could run “is not just a blatant mockery, but a shameless bastardization of our democracy and our exercise electoral”.
He added that Marcos Jr.’s questionable victory and Comelec en banc’s rejection of their petition to disqualify him “saves the wounds of injustice”.
“It’s a slap in the face for all the victims who suffered untold atrocities under the Marcos dictatorship,” Ilagan said in a statement.
Citing Marcos Jr.’s conviction for violation of the National Internal Revenue Code for failure to file tax returns and non-payment of alleged deficiency taxes, the petitioners claim that he is disqualified from running for public office.
The petitioners said that Marcos, Jr.’s failure to file his tax returns for four consecutive years, from 1982 to 1985, when he was Vice Governor and Governor of Ilocos Norte, cannot be considered a simple omission. .
“This shows a complete disregard for the laws which, as Chief Executive of the Province of Ilocos Norte, Respondent, Convicted Candidate Marcos, Jr., has sworn an oath to uphold. This is the repeated violation , deliberate, willful and intentional tax code that makes this violation a crime involving moral turpitude,” the petition reads.
Ilagan was joined by fellow petitioners Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto Vice President Danilo Dela Fuente, former member of the Victims Claims Board for Human Rights, Dr. Erlinda Senturias, and former Representative of Bayan Muna, Satur Ocampo, as well as their legal adviser Atty. Howard Calleja in filing the petition for certiorari in the high court.
Petitioners also include Bagong President Alyansang Makabayan, Dr. Carol Araullo, Indigenous leader Joanna Cariño, Karapatan President Elisa Tita Lubi, former Women’s Party representative Gabriela Liza Maza, poor city leaders Trinidad Herrera- Repuno and Carmencita Florentino, and Professor Doroteo Abaya Jr..
Religious leaders are also among the petitioners, including Sr. Arabella Balingao of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Sr. Cherry Ibardaloza of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, Sr. Susan Esmile of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and Reverend Homar Rubert Distajo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, as well as youth workers.
Petitioners’ attorney Howard Calleja said in a statement, “We recognize the duty of Congress to summon and proclaim a president, but the Supreme Court also has a duty to uphold the rule of law, regardless of any political exercise or problem. We have confidence in the integrity of all Supreme Court justices and believe in their independence.
He added that they are praying for an immediate resolution to their petition. “We uphold the principles of truth and justice. As the fruit of a poisonous tree, No victory can be won by lies and deceit. A disqualified and convicted candidate remains as such and no election can overshadow that,” Calleja added.
Meanwhile, Bonifacio said their petition to disqualify Marcos Jr. is more than a legal issue, but, above all, “a moral and historical issue”.
“We affirm that a convict, liar and unrepentant son of an ousted dictator like Marcos Jr. should never have been allowed to run for public office, let alone the highest position in the land. The Supreme Court must stand up for truth, justice and democracy, and heed our calls to disqualify Marcos Jr. now,” Ilagan said. (RTS, JEE)