Rowena Guanzon, Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), announced on Thursday that she voted to exclude Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos from the 2022 Presidential election.
Guanzon, the presiding officer of the First Division overseeing the consolidated petitions against Marcos, revealed her vote to CNN Philippines in an interview.
"Ang desisyon ko, ang boto ko, disqualified talaga siya. Kasi convicted siya of a crime involving moral turpitude," Guanzon told News.PH.
"Apat na taon siyang hindi nag file ng income tax return, hindi siya nagbayad ng buwis. At hindi siya nagbayad ng multa sa Regional Trial Court," she added.
Guanzon further said that Marcos’ camp had failed to submit a verified copy of its claim that the former senator had previously settled his tax liabilities.
“Nung sinuri po ng mga abogado, doon sa xerox copy, nakalagay doon payment of lease rental. Ano ba ‘yan, pinapalusutan niyo pa kami? Siyempre susuriin namin ‘yang mga ebidensiya. Bakit niyo fine-fake?” she continued.
The votes of two other First Division commissioners have still to be disclosed. To finalize the division’s decision, at least one more member must cast a similar vote.
The ponente, Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, previously stated that she cannot comment on the subject since it “might be against the sub judice rule.” CNN Philippines has also reached out to Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, but has received no answer.
The division had expected to make a decision on Marcos’ three disqualification claims by January 17. However, it was delayed since the ponente was not yet available due to COVID-related complications.
Guanzon labeled the excuse as “unreasonable.”
“This has never happened before, in a disqualification case involving a presidential aspirant. The resolution is hijacked by the ponente,” the commissioner said, arguing that such decision can be written in a matter of hours.
She also stated that Ferolino has been unavailable for three to four days.
When questioned further about the delay, Guanzon stated that she has a “strong feeling” that a politician may have intervened in the case.
“Powerful politician,” Guanzon stated, without dropping names.
“Ayan lang ang appeal ko sa kanya, umatras na kayo. Huwag na kayo makialam dito. Ang presidente nga hindi nakikialam eh, kayo pa?”
Marcos is facing plenty of petitions contesting his candidacy for president in the May elections.
The Comelec Second Division junked a petition from civic leaders seeking to cancel his certificate of candidacy last week for lack of merit. A petition to label Bongbong Marcos a nuisance bet was also denied.
Guanzon votes to disqualify Marcos; says ‘powerful politician’ may be behind case delay|CNN