Commissioner Rowena Guanzon challenged all collegues in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to resign following her allegations that another commissioner is being influenced by a high government official to delay the release of the resolution on the petition to disqualify former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the presidential race.
In a gathering at the Manila Cathedral on Monday morning, the commissioner said, “Sirang-sira na kayo riyan. Sabay-sabay tayong mag-resign ngayon!” (You are all comprised. Let us all resign now!)
Guanzon added that her duty is to protect the public from disqualified candidates .
The gathering coincided with Guanzon’s deadline to fellow Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino to submit her draft of the First Division’s decision on the petition to disqualify Marcos Jr. as presidential candidate.
Guanzon is First Division chief and the supervising commissioner of the hearings on the petition.
The feisty commissioner earlier revealed that Fedelino is unduly delaying the division’s decision, alleging further that a nationally-elected official is exerting influence on her colleague.
Guanzon explained that if the decision is released after she has retired on Wednesday, February 2, her vote to disqualify Marcos would be nullified.
She revealed last Friday that her vote was to disqualify Marcos Jr. on the grounds of moral turpitude, having been convicted twice of tax evasion.
Guanzon added that Marcos Jr. has not paid the penalty for his crimes with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, paying other kinds of arrears instead with the Bureau of Internal Revenue through the Landbank.
Fedelino on the other hand wrote last Friday to Comelec chairperson Sheriff Abbas, asserting there was no delay in the release of the resolution.
Fedelino explained that the lawyer assigned to write the resolution had been sick with the corona virus.
She also denied Guanzon’s claim that the original deadline for the resolution was January 17.
Popular sentiment among cause-oriented groups favor Guanzon, however.
‘Stand with Guanzon’
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said it stands with Guanzon in disqualifying Marcos as well as her decision to reveal the delay in the release of the poll body’s decision on the said petition.
“Commissioner Guanzon is right to disqualify Marcos from the presidential race. She is also right to assert her vote amid the obvious efforts to delay the release of the resolution until she retires and her vote is excluded. We stand with Commissioner Guanzon in her fight to ensure the integrity of the Comelec,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.
In a statement, Bayan said it supports calls for an investigation the on the high government official alleged to be influencing the poll body.
“Why is there no outrage nor alarm in the Comelec? Why is there no probe up to now? If the Comelec can be influenced this way in favor of Marcos, what does that say of its impartiality in presiding over the elections?” Reyes asked.
Bayan said not since the “Hello Garci” incident involving former President Gloria Arroyo has the Comelec faced such a serious crisis, now that one of its own has cried foul over maneuverings that seemingly favor a candidate.
“We call on the Comelec First Division to issue the resolution. We call on the Comelec to investigate the politician allegedly trying to influence the Comelec. We call in the public to stand with Commissioner Guanzon,” Bayan pressed. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)