Daily Tribune : Let Bongbong run

29 January 2022

By Concept News Central | Daily Tribune

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Senior Commissioner Rowena Guanzon caused a stir Thursday night, 27 January, when she revealed to media her decision, as head of the First Division, on the petitions to disqualify the presidential candidacy of Bongbong Marcos.

Marcos faces three pending cases: The consolidated disqualification cases in Guanzon’s division, as well as Christian Monsod’s disqualification petition and Tiburcio Marcos’ disqualification petition, both pending before the Second Division.

The Second Division had earlier dismissed a petition to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy.

“I voted to DQ (disqualify),” Guanzon told GMA reporter Sandra Aguinaldo. Her premature announcement, Guanzon explained, was due to the “unreasonable” delay in the resolution of her division’s decision.

“I suspect interference going on. Some people are trying to influence the commissioners. That’s what I don’t like,” she said.

She did not disclose how the other two members of the First Division — Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino — had voted.

The following day, 28 January, George Briones, general counsel of Marcos’ political party Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, issued a statement:

“Because of her premature disclosure or leaking of her unpromulgated dissenting opinion, Commissioner Guanzon should be disbarred with forfeiture of her retirement benefits and lifetime pension because she destroyed the reputation of the institution, which these monies come from.

“Commissioner Guanzon has shown herself to be an incorrigible narcissist and has shown an insatiable craving for posting [on] social media like Twitter, which is not proper for a judge.”

The trading of barbs continued when Guanzon tweeted: “I challenge George Briones of Partido Federal of BBM to a debate on TV. If he thinks he is brighter than me, he should agree.”

Guanzon pointed out that since she’s an impeachable officer under the Constitution, the Comelec en banc has no jurisdiction to investigate an administrative complaint against her.

“You people better study,” Guanzon said, addressing Briones.

Adding fuel to the fire, Guanzon, a member of the Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority, revealed Briones is her “brod” since he’s a member of her sorority’s partner fraternity, Sigma Rho.

Briones acknowledged the information and declined Guanzon’s challenge to engage in a debate.

Guanzon’s allegation of undue delay in the promulgation of the cases is disturbing and alarming. Why is the ponente, whom Guanzon had earlier identified as Ferolino, taking time to release the Division’s decision?

Guanzon went to the extent of claiming Ferolino has been “incommunicado” — not responding to calls or text messages from Comelec staff.

By evening, Ferolino broke her silence and said she’s been pressured by Guanzon’s revelation that she’s the ponente.

A report on GMA said Ferolino “denied that there was an internal timeline within which the division was to decide on the Marcos’ case,” as Guanzon said.

In a letter she sent to Comelec chair Sheriff Abas, Ferolino said: “In all honesty Chair, it was not only the date of the promulgation that she imposed upon me. She also consistently took liberties in telling me to adopt her opinion.

“It is quite appalling that Commissioner Guanzon was able to draft an opinion when the Ponencia has not yet submitted the resolution and all the case records are in my possession.”

As the plot thickens in this unexpected drama, one can imagine the stress and anxiety it is now causing on Bongbong.

But whether he wins or loses, the cases are expected to be appealed before the Comelec en banc before they are elevated to the Supreme Court.

A disqualification scenario might lead to trouble in the form of a public clamor to let Bongbong run since he’s been the frontrunner in credible surveys.

His chief rival in the race, Vice President Leni Robredo, has declared she’d rather have Bongbong not disqualified.

And so, without prejudice to the Supreme Court’s final say, it would be good for the country to vote its next president with the frontrunner in the list of candidates.

Let Bongbong Marcos run.