The Philippines election commission dismissed a petition trying to bar Marcos Jr from running for the next presidential elections. The son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos leads opinion polls and appears as a favorite to Rodrigo Duterte’s succession.
Anti-Marcos regime activists launched a petition for preventing Ferdinand Marcos Jr from running for the presidential elections on May 2022. The petition claimed that the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos falsified his certificate of candidacy.
Civil activists argued that a conviction from 1995 imposed Marcos Jr a lifetime election ban. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) considered the petition lacked merit.
In 1995, Marcos Jr was convicted for having failed to pay income tax and file tax returns during a public office tenure between 1982 and 1985.
The Court of Appeals acquitted the politician in 1997 for not paying taxes but upheld the decision that he failed to file tax returns.
The country’s revenue code has an amendment which may disqualify from holding public office. But it only took effect in 1986 and cannot be applied retroactively. Moreover, the judges noted Marcos Jr was not guilty of tax evasion.
“There is no intention on the part of respondent to deceive the electorate as to hide qualifications for public office“, COMELEC ruling stated.
Marcos Jr a favorite for 2022 presidential elections
The Task for Detainees in the Philippines, the non-profit organization which led the petition claiming he was not qualified for running from public office, disagreed with the commission’s decision. It said it would seek reconsideration of the decision.
The petition was one of a number of complaints designed to sideline Marcos from the ballot, although they are all based on the same case according to The New York Times.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr held his first public position in 1980 as vice governor of a Philippine region at the age of 23. He held various public positions through the decades and unsuccessfully ran for the vice presidency in 2016.
The Marcos family is still very influential in the Philippines and divides the country. Opinion polls place Marcos Jr as one of the favorites for the presidential elections on May 2022.
In the Philippines, the constitution forbids presidents from running for a second term, disqualifying Rodrigo Duterte of his own succession. The Marcos family supported Duterte in the last elections.
Marcos Jr is campaigning with Sara Duterte, the current president’s daughter, as a de facto running mate for the vice presidency.
Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 until 1986 when he was ousted and fled to Hawaii, where he died three years later. He ruled with martial law powers from 1972. The Marcos family is said to have stolen US$10 billion from the Philippine state.