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Release of decision on DQ cases vs. Marcos delayed as COVID-19 hits Comelec division staff

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has yet to release the decision on the disqualification cases filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. after one of the division staff members contracted COVID-19.

On Monday morning, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the first division’s decision is expected to come out at “10 a.m. onwards.”

However, Comelec Director III of the Education and Information Department Atty. Ellaiza Sabile-David said the draft was not ready yet.

“Wala pa po. Hindi pa po ready 'yung draft. Kasama na rin po ‘yung lawyers po doon sa office ng commissioner kung sino ‘yung ating ponente po ay nagkasakit, so medyo tinamaan din ng COVID. So, magkakaroon po ng delay po sa paglabas ng decision sa promulgation po,” Sabille-David said in a radio interview.

(There is no decision as of the moment because the draft is not ready yet. The office of the commissioner who is tasked to write the decision was hit by COVID-19. So, there will be a delay in the promulgation of the decision.)

In a tweet, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said one of the commissioners of the First Division is in isolation due to contact with a staff member who contracted COVID-19.

“Not true that [Commissioner] of First Div has COVID, but in isolation due to close contact with COVID positive staff,” she said.



Apart from Guanzon, the First Division is composed by Commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio.

Last week, Guanzon, the presiding officer of the First Division, said the decision will be out on or before January 17 and they are eyeing to air the promulgation of the resolution.

In a press briefing, Jimenez said that they are still waiting for the decision and there was “no word yet” on its release.

“At this point, all I really know is there is nothing to promulgate. So I am waiting for word from the First Division, particularly the presiding officer of the First Division,” he said.

The Comelec division is resolving three disqualification cases against Marcos, which were consolidated during the preliminary conference last January 7.

The consolidated disqualification petitions include the case filed by martial law victims led by Bonifacio Ilagan, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party, and a faction of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) led by Abubakar Mangelen.

The petitions filed by Ilagan and Akbayan argued mainly on Marcos' tax convictions in 1995.

The Mangelen petition also mentioned Marcos’ previous tax cases but it also asked the poll body to nullify the presidential aspirant’s Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance, arguing that the PFP approved it without his consent. Mangelen claims he is the duly elected chairman of the party. —KG, GMA News