MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ poll body will rule by Jan. 17 on a series of petitions seeking to disqualify from presidential elections the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a commissioner said on Tuesday.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the frontrunner for the May 9 election according to opinion polls, has faced at least eight complaints urging the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to bar him from running, mainly over a 1995 tax evasion conviction.
Aides to Marcos, 64, have rejected the petitions as propaganda aimed at discrediting him.
“On or before Jan. 17, the COMELEC First Division will promulgate its resolution on the DQ (disqualification) cases against Marcos,” commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in a tweet.
COMELEC’s second division is handling several other complaints against him.
Most of the complaints centre on his failure to pay income tax and file tax returns while in public office from 1982 to 1985, which petitioners say carries a lifetime election ban that Marcos has successfully avoided.
His lawyer Vic Rodriguez did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
The Court of Appeals acquitted Marcos of non-payment of taxes in 1997, but it upheld the guilty verdict on failing to file tax returns.
Since the conviction, Marcos has been elected governor, congressman and senator and ran unsuccessfully for the vice presidency. He remains hugely popular in northern parts of the Philippines and has a big social media following.
Despite its fall from grace, the Marcos family has retained vast wealth and powerful political connections, but its prominence has been a cause of anger to many who suffered under the notorious martial law era of his father’s rule.
Others vying for the presidency include senator and retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo https://reut.rs/324n4aw, Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso, senator and former police chief Panfilo Lacson.
(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)