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Guanzon sees senator's hand in delay of Bongbong DQ case ruling


Outgoing Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Friday said a senator may be behind the delay in the release of the decision on Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s disqualification case.

On The Mangahas Interviews, Guanzon said the case is being held up on the part of Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, a member of the First Division which is handling the case. She said Ferolino has stopped responding to messages and calls.

“Iniipit nila diyan kay Commissioner Aimee Ferolino. Pulitiko ito, malaking poderoso ito, kasi hindi naman gagawin ito ni Commissioner Aimee na hindi siya nakasandal sa taong malakas," she said.

(They are keeping the resolution with Commissioner Aimee Ferolino. A politician is behind this, a big one, because Commissioner Aimee will not do this if she does not have a powerful backer.)

Guanzon, who voted for Marcos' disqualification, initially accused a political party "with no presidential candidate" of interfering with the case.

“Hindi niyo nga kandidato ‘yan si Marcos Jr. Ano ba? Salungat kayo sa partido niyo (Marcos Jr. is not even your candidate. What is this? Are you against your own party?” she said.

Asked if she is referring to the PDP-Laban wing under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Guanzon said she is not sure but added it is "most likely a senator."

“Hindi ko alam kung PDP, pero malamang senador [I don’t know if it’s PDP, but it’s most likely a senator],” she said.

Not Imee

Guanzon, however, cleared Senator Imee Marcos, sister of the embattled presidential aspirant.

“Hindi naman gagawin ni Imee Marcos ito sa akin, classmate ko siya eh. Hindi ko lang ka-classmate, seatmate ko siya [Imee will not do this to me. She was my classmate and also seatmate],” she said, referring to their days in UP College of Law.

“Malaki respeto namin sa isa’t isa [We respect each other],” she added.

'Conspiracy'

Guanzon, who is set to retire on February 2, said she believes there is a "conspiracy" to delay the release of the ruling. She called on Ferolino to submit the resolution so that they could vote on it before February 2.

“Sa akin po may conspiracy na hindi na ilabas yung resolution para ‘yung boto ko hindi na mabilang (For me, there is a conspiracy not to release the resolution so my vote will not be counted],” she said.

The First Division is composed of Guanzon, Ferolino, and Marlon Casquejo.

Panelo 'alarmed'

Meanwhile, former chief presidential legal counsel and senatorial aspirant Salvador Panelo said he is "alarmed" by Guanzon's claim that a politician is behind the delay in the resolution of Marcos' disqualification case.

"This is outrageous. The Comelec, a constitutional body, should be left alone with its constitutional duty to resolve election cases, on the basis of the evidence and the law," he said in a statement Friday.

Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte himself has never interfered with the functions of constitutional bodies like the Comelec.

He also said urge the Comelec to quickly resolve Marcos' disqualification case.

"It is unfair for respondent Marcos as well as the petitioner to be hanging in a limbo," he said. "No documentary and testimonial evidence is required as it is a simple legal issue arising from a previous conviction of Marcos, Jr. hence there is reason for the delay in its resolution."

PFP vs. Guanzon

On Thursday, Guanzon bared that she voted to disqualify Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., for committing a crime of moral turpitude for failing to pay income taxes in the 1980s.

For baring her vote, Marcos' party Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) is seeking her disbarment and asked Comelec to conduct an investigation on her.

Marcos' camp, for their part, refused to comment on Guanzon's claims.

"We will wait for the decision to come out and until then any statement made are all speculative," said Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos' chief of staff and spokesperson.

Sought for comment on Guanzon's revelations, Ferolino told GMA News on Thursday: "I'm afraid I cannot comment on the matter because it might be against the sub judice rule." —KBK, GMA News

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