Philippines activists push new petition seeking Marcos election ban

Members of Akbayan Partylist gather outside the Commission on Elections during the filing of a petition for disqualification against late dictator's son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running for the presidency in the 2022 national elections, in Manila, Philippines, December 2, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

MANILA (Reuters) - Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the early frontrunner for the Philippines presidency, was hit by another formal complaint on Thursday, as longtime opponents of his powerful family pile pressure on authorities to disqualify him from elections next year.

The activists' petition is part of a flurry of complaints designed to sideline Marcos, a career politician and son and namesake of the notorious dictator who was driven from power by a 1986 people's uprising.

It was among at least six lodged with election authorities and is centred on his 1995 conviction for failing to pay income tax or file tax returns while in public office from 1982 to 1985, which carries a lifetime election ban.

"He was the son of the ruling dictator, the same dictator who imposed the penalty of perpetual disqualification," the 13-page petition said.

The group was referring to a 1985 amendment to the internal revenue code permanently barring a public officer convicted of a tax crime from voting and running in any election.

"Perhaps he thought he was an exception to his father's decrees," the petition said.

The Marcos family is arguably the most famous and divisive in the Philippines.

Despite its fall from grace, it has retained vast wealth and far-reaching and powerful connections, but its prominence has been a cause of anger to thousands who suffered during the harsh 1970s martial law under the elder Marcos.

Outside the poll body, more than a dozen people chanted "Disqualify, BBM! Disqualify! Disqualify!" while carrying posters bearing the same message.

BBM refers to "Bongbong" Marcos, his nickname. His media group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since his conviction, Marcos, 64, has been elected governor, congressman and senator and ran unsuccessfully for the vice presidency.

"He may have been allowed to run in 2016 but we will not allow him to run again," said petitioner and Akbayan youth chairperson Rj Naguit.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)

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