Poll official: Decision on DQ case
An election commissioner has revealed that she voted to disqualify former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the 2022 presidential race, believing there has been “unreasonable delay” in the poll body’s decision on his case.
First Division Presiding Commissioner Rowena Guazon decided to release her opinion on the disqualification case to the public, saying she already submitted it to the other commissioners.
“That’s why this (delay) is happening because my vote is to DQ Marcos Jr. I think there really is moral turpitude based on evidence and the law. I will not keep it a secret. That is the reason why this is happening,” Guanzon said.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is set to discuss the upcoming national and local elections in its online plenary assembly, which opened on Thursday.
Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, CBCP secretary general, said they have invited speakers from a range of sectors to discuss election issues.
Pantin added they are looking to release a pastoral statement in connection with the upcoming polls by early February.
“The discussion aims to gather points and ideas that can be included in the statement,” he said in an article posted on the Conference’s news website.
In an interview with GMA News at the UP College of Law where she graduated, Guanzon said she received information of efforts to influence the other officials of the Commission on Elections.
The election official said she already submitted her opinion to the two other commissioners of the First Division, Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo.
She said the document was ready last January 17, the day the ruling was supposed to be issued.
“In fact, I have a dissenting opinion, I was ready on January 17 because we raffle the disqualification cases, three are called consolidated cases and that went to a commissioner as the ponente,” she said in live streaming on Facebook.
Guanzon said the ruling was not released on January 17 and the day after as the ponente assigned it to a lawyer, who got the coronavirus disease, and the assigning commissioner then went on quarantine for being a close contact.
“Here at the Commission on Elections, we raffle the case. The ponente will write the decision. If we both agree with another member of the Commission, we will sign it,” she said.
“So that’s the procedure here. So, I don’t insist on who will write or who will be the ponente, and it does not mean that what the ponente commissioner wrote is our decision. It’s because each of us can write a separate opinion,” she added.
Guanzon assured that all pending cases she is handling will be decided upon by early next week.
“So, by Friday, at the latest Monday. I promise you I have zero backlog for cases assigned to me,” added the commissioner, who is set to retire on February 2.
Last week, Guanzon denied claims the poll body is delaying the resolution of the disqualification cases against Marcos.
“So, it is not correct to say that we are delaying in order to favor one party,” she said in a Facebook live video.
CBCP president Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David will preside over the virtual assembly. He will be assisted by vice president Mylo Hubert Vergara.
Pantin added that also expected to be discussed are measures to strengthen environmental protection and climate actions. The discussions will be led by the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP), also known as Caritas Philippines.
On the other hand, Vergara asked for prayers as they hold their biannual meeting.
“May we request for prayers as we hold the CBCP 123rd Online Plenary Assembly (January 27-28, 2022). Thank you,” he posted on his Facebook page.
The two-day event will be the third time that the plenary assembly will be held online since mass gatherings are prohibited due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The plenary assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of Catholic Church leaders in the country, meets in regular sessions twice a year — in January and July.
At present, the CBCP is composed of 86 active bishops, two priest administrators, and 41 honorary members who are retired bishops.