Escudero: Guanzon determined to stop Poe’s candidacy by all means
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines – Senator Francis Escudero on Monday continued to question the “eagerness” of Commission of Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in disqualifying Senator Grace Poe from the presidential race but fell short of categorically saying whom the poll officer was siding with.
He did offer some analogy.
“Where she’s coming from that she appears to be very eager and so mad at Senator Grace? I am not saying here that she was favoring somebody but it was clear she did not want (Poe) to run,” Escudero told reporters here.
He said Guanzon’s “eagerness in having Poe disqualified” had been highlighted more when the poll officer bypassed her fellow commissioners in submitting a comment, which was entirely her own, before the Supreme Court on the matter of Poe’s disqualification issue.
“The comment did not have the consent of the Comelec en banc. It has only her signature even if she had put the names of the other commissioners there,” Escudero said.
He said Guanzon’s move was wrong from all perspective, as the Comelec, like the Senate, has always been a collegial body.
“As a Senator, I can defend Senator Grace before the bar of public opinion but I cannot possibly appear as a Senator at the Supreme Court to defend her. It does not work that way. I need the authority of the plenary to do that. It’s the same way in the Comelec. She does not have the authority to file a comment without the consent of the en banc,” Escudero said.
Guanzon earlier challenged Escudero to represent Poe at the Supreme Court.
However, Escudero said he could not say whom Guanzon was lawyering for. What he can categorically say, he said, was that Guanzon became a commissioner upon the recommendation of Senate President Franklin Drilon.
He said other commissioners were either recommended by Drilon or former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party’s standard bearer in the 2016 elections.
“It was no less than (Malacañang) spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, who admitted that some commissioners were recommended by Secretary Roxas and Drilon. For example, Commissioner Al Parreño was made commissioner based on Roxas’ recommendation while Art Lim was backed by Drilon,” Escudero said.
“I am not saying they were already tainted but those who were planning to run for any elective position should not have recommended anybody to the Comelec,” he said.
Poe’s comment on Guanzon’s eagerness to have her disqualified was brief: “Ask her who appointed her.”
On Comelec chair Andres Bautista, Poe said “he is not only a good lawyer, he has proven himself in various institutions he had served.”
“I believe that he has a principle and he is fair. He was among those few who gave us opportunity to be heard through the documents we have filed. The others did not even consider what we have submitted,” she said.
Poe said Bautista obviously wanted the cases filed against her thoroughly scrutinized so that any decision could be perceived as just and fair.
“He might have wanted to erase doubts in the mind of the people that they were for a certain candidate. We have confidence in him for now because of what he has been showing,” she added.
Escudero said Guanzon could be correct in saying that Bautista did not want Poe disqualified but it did not mean the Comelec chair was biased for Poe.
But Guanzon, he said, should explain why she wanted Poe disqualified.
“The bullying has to stop,” Escudero added. SFM
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