By GERRY LEE GORIT
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Incumbent Manila City Mayor and presidential aspirant Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s senatorial candidates – all three of them – visited the Cogon public market in this city to talk to the local folks.
During the dialogue at the market’s second floor, senatorial bets Samira Gutoc, Jopet Sison, and Carl Balita listened and interacted with the audience regarding important issues such as poverty and the delivery of basic services.
Cogon is the city’s largest public market, where Moreno as supposed to join the three but have opted to go to Cebu for a separate engagement there.
When asked what is their opinion on the tax evasion conviction of former senator and presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the aspirants said they will leave it to the Commission on Elections to decide on it.
Sison, a former Quezon city councilor, known for co-hosting a legal drama TV show “Ipaglaban Mo,” leaves it up to the Comelec to act on the disqualification case of Marcos.
“The decision lies with the Comelec. The Comelec are the one going to investigate it. There are many opinions about that, some are saying that tax evasion does not involved moral turpitude,” Sison said.
“Whatever happens to the case, let Comelec decide, our focus right now is the people,” he added.
For her part, Gutoc-Tomawis wasn’t too kind to Marcos, saying that people should not forget what the Marcos family did during the Martial Law in the ‘70s and 80s.
“What I am pushing for remembering, educating, caring, the entire Philippines, Mindanao should not forget the Martial Law in the 1970s,” she said.
“Marcos has the right to file his candidacy, but we will never forget,” she added.
It can be recalled that Marcos is facing several petitions for the cancellation of his Certificate of Candidacy at the Comelec after petitions were filed against his presidential bid on the basis of his two convictions on tax evasion.
Several groups have filed petitions for the cancellation of Marco’s Jr.’s COC based on a court ruling convicting Marcos after failing to file his income tax return in 1997, made final in 2001.
The petition said that Marcos said in his COC that he was eligible was the misrepresentation, said the petition.
The Court of Appeals (CA) in 1997 acquitted Marcos of failing to pay tax, but convicted him of failing to file ITRs from 1982-1985. The CA did not impose a penalty of imprisonment, just P36,000 fines, so that removes the disqualification ground of having been sentenced to more than 18 months.
Gutoc-Tomawis also belies reports that Moreno is a Marcos supporter and an “enabler” of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is very clear to me that I joined Aksyon, because ‘Yorme’ (Domagoso) is not a Marcos supporter,” Gutoc-Tomawis said.
Balita also leaves it to the Comelec to decide if to allow Marcos, Jr. to run.
“Let Comelec decide, but let the people also decide. We trust the Comelec, but we trust Filipinos more,” Balita said.