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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Legal arguments can delay Marcos Jr. case

/ 04:02 AM December 01, 2021

There has been too much hullabaloo about whether or not Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude” that should disqualify him from running for president. This issue is bound to reach the Supreme Court, and the delay in its final resolution could keep Marcos Jr. on the ballot. If he wins, it could render the challenge moot and academic under the tenuous theory that the “sovereign” people have spoken and deferential acknowledgment should be given to their vote.

To avert such a pathetic scenario, Stephen Monsanto offered a suggestion (“Ferdinand Marcos’ PD 1158 to blame for his son’s disqualification fix,” 11/25/21) — to simplify the issue and keep it within the purview of Presidential Decree No. 1158, which provides in no uncertain terms that a public officer or employee convicted of any crime under that decree “shall be dismissed from the public service and perpetually disqualified from holding any public office, to vote or participate in any election” (National Internal Revenue Code of 1997). That should cut to the chase and lay the matter to rest faster.

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There is no dispute that Marcos Jr. was convicted of a crime punishable under PD 1158. But the lawyers on both sides are crossing swords over a requirement in the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) that the crime a candidate has been convicted of should involve “moral turpitude” to disqualify him from running for public office. Legal arguments on the pros and cons thereof could go on and on, ad nauseam.

PD 1158 is not concerned with “moral turpitude.” The mere non-filing of tax return or nonpayment of tax is penalized, and conviction thereof automatically carries with it “dismissal” or “perpetual disqualification” from public service. If Marcos Jr. had been convicted of a crime other than those punishable under PD 1158, the OEC would apply and an examination into whether or not that crime involved “moral turpitude” would be apropos.

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As they say, if you put two lawyers together, be prepared to hear three different opinions! That third opinion will most likely come from a layman — a total stranger to legal gobbledygook.

CHIN CHIN KATIGBAK
[email protected]

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, Bongbong Marcos, Chin Chin Katigbak, Letters to the Editors, Marcos disqualification, Presidential Decree 1158
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