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Moral turpitude cannot serve as grounds for disqualification –Bongbong camp

The camp of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. underscored that moral turpitude could not serve as grounds for disqualifying the former senator in the May 2022 national elections.

In a statement on Monday, Attorney Victor Rodriguez said Marcos "possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to run, campaign and serve the Filipino people."

Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesman, explained that on the issue of moral turpitude, the filing of a fraudulent return with the intent to invade taxes was considered as a crime involving moral turpitude as it entails willfulness and fraudulent intent on the part of the individual.

"The same, however, cannot be said for 'failure to file a return' where the mere omission already constitutes a violation. Thus, this Court holds that even if the conviction of respondent Marcos Jr. is affirmed, the same not being a crime involving moral turpitude, cannot serve as a ground for his disqualification," he explained.

The Commission on Elections released Commissioner Rowena Guanzon's separate opinion on the disqualification case against the former senator.

She voted to disqualify Marcos in the presidential race due to moral turpitude over non-filing of income tax returns for the years 1982 to 1985.

As defined by the Supreme Court, moral turpitude is anything contrary to justice, modesty, or good morals, and depicts baseness, vileness, or depravity.

In her 24-page opinion, Guanzon stated: "One thing is certain, by not filing an income tax return, he deprived the government of the chance to ascertain whether what was withheld correctly corresponded with what he earned."

"By failing to file his return, respondent seriously incapacitated the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) from determining whether the correct taxes were paid. In fact, it took several years and a special audit team before the BIR was finally able to determine that respondent has deficiency taxes."

Guanzon also said the Court of Appeal's (CA) decision “never meted” the penalty of three years of imprisonment against Marcos contrary to the conviction rendered by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for violations of Sections 45 and 50 of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code. — DVM, GMA News