What happens to Marcos DQ cases when 3 commissioners retire?
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold its en banc session on Wednesday for the retirement of three of its commissioners including Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who presides the first division handling the disqualification cases filed against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
Besides Guanzon, Sheriff Abas and Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. are also retiring from the Comelec.
Guanzon said that the first and second divisions would reshuffle their commissioners due to the retirements.
The current members of the First Division are Guanzon, who is the presiding commissioner, and Commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino.
On the other hand, the Second Division is composed of presiding commissioner Socorro Inting and Commissioners Antonio Kho and Rey Bulay.
The First Division handles the three consolidated disqualification cases against Marcos Jr. The three consolidated cases against Marcos Jr cited the former senator’s failure to file income tax returns and alleged failure to pay the corresponding tax deficiency.
The case has been raffled off to Ferolino. Her decision has still not been released a day before Guanzon retires.
Guanzon said that once she retires, she and Casquejo will not be in a position to vote on the consolidated cases related to disqualification. While Caquejo remains a commissioner, he will be moving to the second division, where he will be the presiding commissioner for that division.
On the other hand, Inting will take over Guanzon’s position as presiding commissioner of the First Division.
“What the people do not yet realize but what Commissioner Marlon Casquejo and I already know is that Commissioner Ferolino did this so that both of us–Commissioner Casquejo and I cannot cast our votes. I think they suspect that both commissioner Casquejo and I are for [disqualification],” Guanzon said during the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum.
The reshuffle may also result in the Marcos disqualification case being assigned to a new commissioner, Guanzon said.
She said it would be the new presiding commissioner’s call to re-raffle Marcos disqualification cases.
“It should no longer be in Commissioner Ferolino’s hands now. [But] that is the call of the presiding commissioner because she already lost the privilege of writing a draft resolution while the two of us are in office,” Guanzon added.
Casquejo willing to finish the decision
Guanzon said Casquejo was willing to finish writing the decision of three consolidated disqualification petitions, but Ferolino was allegedly “holding onto” the cases.
Guanzon said that, as presiding commissioner, she wanted to transfer the case from Ferolino to Casquejo, who is willing to take the case despite being busy in operations.
“That is the reason why Commissioner Cascuejo called her up. Because even if he’s very busy in the operations, he was willing just to finish it,” Guanzon said.
“That is the reason why Commissioner Cascuejo called her up. Because even if he’s very busy in the operations, he was willing just to finish it. But she knew why he was calling, that’s why she was not answering calls,” Guanzon said.
While she can remove the case from Ferolino, she said she wanted her to waive the case because “you know I don’t want to take it from her without her consent.”
Ferolino denied she was delaying the release of the resolution, saying she is “judiciously scrutinizing” all evidence “so that these will be rightfully appreciated in the process of penning the Ponencia.”
“In all that I do, I take into consideration the timelines and the rules, I see to it that I perform my duty within the bounds of the law,” Ferolino explained.
IINQUIRER.net has contacted Ferolino for more information, but her response has yet to be received.
Guanzon earlier alleged that an influential senator from Davao is to blame for the delay in releasing the resolution on the cases.
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