The Manila Times : Guanzon out of Marcos DQ case – Roque

3 February 2022

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

Updated at 12:01 am

SENATE candidate Harry Roque Jr. said that Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon's dissenting opinion on the disqualification cases against presidential hopeful Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will become a "piece of paper" because the poll body has not issued a resolution yet.

The former Palace spokesman said unless there is actual promulgation of a decision by the Comelec's First Division, Guanzon cannot register a dissenting opinion.

Guanzon retired on Wednesday, February 2.

"If the First Division does not promulgate a decision by the time commissioner Guanzon's term of office ends on February 2, then we can safely say that her dissenting opinion can no longer be part of the final case resolution," Roque said in a statement.

The UniTeam Senate candidate said that Guanzon's retirement will render her prematurely released dissenting opinion as a piece of paper.

"Her fixed term, unfortunately, precludes the commissioner from insisting that her opinion become a part or be included in the consolidated decision of the First Division after February 2," Roque said.

A practicing lawyer since 1990 and former professor at the UP College of Law, Roque expressed disappointment that the commissioner released her opinion ahead of the First Division's decision as it goes against the Comelec's collegial nature.

"Can a decision of a member pre-empt the decision of a collegial body? The answer is no," Roque said. "The decision should be promulgated by the Division itself and not by an individual commissioner."

The former Palace spokesman said that all privileged information among members of a court of law or institutional commission must remain private and undisclosed until the decision of a collegial body has been promulgated.

He said that while Comelec commissioners are impeachable, they are not immune from administrative penalties.

"Although they can be removed from office through an impeachment initiated by the House and with the Senate sitting as an impeachment court, erring justices or commissioners can still be subject to disciplinary measures," Roque said.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez earlier said that Marcos can campaign pending the decision.