Philippine News Agency : 2 Comelec execs trade barbs over BBM DQ case

29 January 2022

By Ferdinand Patinio | Philippine News Agency

MANILA – Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Aimee Ferolino exchanged tirades over the resolution of the disqualification cases filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Ferolino, in a letter dated January 28 addressed to Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas, asked the poll body to review the appearances of  Guanzon on television and social media, saying "her excitement and eagerness have taken over her that she may have forgotten the sub judice rule."

Ferolino, in explaining her side regarding Guanzon’s complaints that she was "deliberately" delaying the release of the resolution on the consolidated cases against Marcos Jr., said the ponente or the person tasked to write the resolution, has been the subject of castigation from Guanzon, who is the presiding commissioner of the Comelec’s 1st Division handling the disqualification cases against Marcos Jr.

Guanzon, in her social media account on Saturday, posted a memo dated January 28, ordering Ferolino to respond to the delay that read "not later than 31 January 2022, 12 noon, as to why you have delayed the release of your ponencia. For strict compliance."

She said the cases have been with Ferolino's office for more than two weeks.

“Inasmuch as I am retiring on 2 February 2022, I have no other conclusion than that you are deliberately delaying the release of your ponencia until after I retire in order to defeat my vote. This way, my Separate Opinion will not be attached to the Majority Resolution and will not form part of the records,” she wrote in the memo.

However, Ferolino, in her letter to Abas, said Guanzon tried to influence her decision.

“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,” she said in her three-page letter.

“She even issued a Memorandum incorporating her separate opinion on a resolution that is yet to be released. The Presiding Commissioner of the 1st Division is putting the cart before the horse to justify her demands."

As for the 15 days given to issue a resolution on the case, it only applies to a single case, Ferolino said, noting that the same period cannot be applied to consolidated cases as in the case of the former senator.

“Why rush, when this Commission decides cases on the merits and not for publicity or to accommodate and please anybody or somebody," she said in her letter, adding that the case should be treated as any other cases before the Commission where the resolutions are carefully studied, reviewed, and thought of.

"I reiterate, that in resolving the Marcos case, my office is well within the timelines, and well within the bounds of the rules,” she said.

Ferolino added that Guanzon's public disclosure of being the ponente of the Marcos case will expose her to possible pressure from different personalities and organizations, and will pose a threat to her safety and security.

On Thursday, Guanzon disclosed that she voted to disqualify Marcos from the 2022 presidential race for failure to file income tax returns, among others. (PNA)