Comelec’s Guanzon sets ultimatum for peer to release Marcos case resolution | Inquirer News

Comelec’s Guanzon sets ultimatum for peer to release Marcos case resolution

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon (Photo from her Twitter account)

MANILA, Philippines — Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on Saturday that she had given her fellow Commissioner Aimee Ferolino until noon on Monday to release the resolution by the First Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the petition to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from running in the May 9 presidential polls.

Guanzon, the division’s presiding commissioner, disclosed on Twitter and in media interviews on Thursday that her vote was to disqualify the son and namesake of the late dictator and that “political interference” was delaying the release of the resolution that was supposed to be written by Ferolino.


Guanzon explained that it was proven that Marcos Jr. did not pay his taxes for four years when he was vice governor and later governor of Ilocos Norte, a crime of moral turpitude, and was sentenced by a regional trial court to imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine.

The Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and ordered him to only pay a fine. Still, Guanzon said, Marcos didn’t pay the fine.


She told the Inquirer on Friday that an “influential and powerful senator” was delaying the issuance of the resolution by Ferolino, who was the designated ponente, or the commissioner who was to write the ruling on the case.

There was a “conspiracy” to delay the release of her vote against Marcos Jr. after her retirement on Feb. 2 so that it would not be counted, she told the Inquirer.

‘Public’s question’

“She [Ferolino] should answer the public’s question: Did she receive a bribe to delay her ponencia so my vote to disqualify BBM [Bongbong Marcos] will not be counted? If it is not true, then she should release her ponencia by Monday,” Guanzon said in an interview on Saturday.

The final decision of the First Division would be known once all three members — Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, Guanzon, and Ferolino — declare their votes or position on the petition.

“Whatever is her (Ferolino’s) vote, she must release her ponencia resolution and not hijack to delay until after I retire to favor BBM,” Guanzon said in a text message.

“If Ferolino does not release her resolution on Monday, I will post my opinion online at the latest on Wednesday,” she said later in the interview.

Ferolino could not be reached for comment.



Guanzon’s “premature” disclosure of her vote prompted calls for sanctions against her by both the counsel for the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) under which Marcos Jr. is running and prominent election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who is also part of the legal team of the former senator’s chief rival, Vice President Leni Robredo.

George Briones, PFP general counsel, said the feisty and outspoken Comelec commissioner should be disbarred for “illegally” leaking her “dissenting” and “minority” opinion.

In a memorandum to Ferolino on Friday, Guanzon reminded her fellow commissioner that 18 days had already passed since the three petitions for disqualification were received by Ferolino’s office and that all three of them in the division had agreed to promulgate the ruling on Jan. 17.

She said the delay was “unjustifiable.”

“Inasmuch as I am retiring on [Feb. 2], I have no other conclusion than that you are deliberately delaying the release of your ponencia until after I retire in order to defeat my vote,” she told Ferolino in her memo. “This way, my separate opinion will not be attached to the majority resolution and will not form part of the records.”

Guanzon said she had furnished Ferolino a copy of her own opinion and vote on Jan. 17. She said she had sent text messages asking Ferolino to just let Casquejo write the main ruling, but the commissioner rejected her suggestion.

‘No undue delay’

In a letter to Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas, Ferolino belied Guanzon’s claims, saying Guanzon tried to sway her into disqualifying Marcos Jr.

She also argued that there was no undue delay in resolving the consolidated petition, which was “complex and highly rated.”

Guanzon also arbitrarily set the deadline, Ferolino said.

“What really happened here,” she said, “is undue rush.”

“Why rush when this commission decides cases on the merits and not for publicity or to accommodate and please anybody or somebody?” Ferolino said.

Guanzon denied Ferolino’s claim that she was trying to influence her decision.

‘In nation’s interest’

“If I am influencing her by sending her my separate opinion, then she must be weak in the head. Reminding her to release her [long] overdue [and] delayed ponencia is my duty as presiding commissioner,” she said.

“It is in the nation’s interest that this disqualification case be decided by the Supreme Court as soon as possible. We only have three months before May 9,” Guanzon added, noting that Ferolino had time to write to Abas but not the resolution.

“Why doesn’t she just release her ponencia resolution so I can attach my vote or separate opinion? There may be a million reasons for this mystery,” Guanzon said.

She explained that she was able to write her own decision on the case because she had “soft copies” of all the records and the transcript of the Jan. 7 preliminary conference of the concerned parties.

Guanzon advised Ferolino to read Comelec’s rules that resolutions must be submitted not later than 15 days.

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