GUANZON LOSES BATTLE TO DISQUALIFY MARCOS; COMELEC WILL NOT COUNT HER DQ OPINION

DISQUALIFICATION CASE TO GO TO SUPREME COURT

By ROGER M. BALANZA

Because she has already retired, the vote of Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on three disqualification cases against presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will no longer be counted in the decision of the First Division, said the Commission on Election (Comelec) on Monday, January 31.

Guanzon, on Monday, January 31, which is the last working day of the commissioner with the poll body, released an undated 24-page “separate opinion” on the disqualification cases against the son of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., who is running for the country’s top post in the May 2022 election.

Guanzon, who presides over the three-member First Division, filed her separate opinion, as she accused Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, the ponente who should write the decision, of trying to exclude her vote by delaying the promulgation.

Guanzon is set to retire on February 2, after 7 years as a commissioner.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, at a press briefing on Monday afternoon, said Guanzon’s separate opinion would not be part of the records of the case.

He said that once Guanzon retires before the promulgation, her vote will no longer be included in the decision.

“I cannot put a label on the value of it but it is obviously very important to know what the commissioners think right now, what Commissioner Guanzon thinks right now, having the opportunity to actually hear the case. But in terms of the disposition of the case, what is crucial and what really matters is the main decision,” he said.

“The ones who will decide the case should be members of the commission and that point of decision is when the main decision comes out,” he said.

The cases to disqualify Marcos were filed by Akbayan and other activist groups, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma), and a group claiming to be original members of Marcos’ adopted political party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

While Guanzon may have lost her battle to disqualify Marcos with her vote excluded from the count, Marcos’ woes may not yet be over.

Guanzon earlier said that whatever which way the Comelec case would go, any of the parties are set to bring up the case to the Supreme Court to question the poll body’s decision.

In her opinion, Guanzon said Marcos should be disqualified to run under the Omnibus Election Code because he was convicted of the crime of moral turpiitude for failing to pay taxes.

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