Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Aimee Ferolino on Monday hit back at Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, accusing the latter of conditioning the public’s mind that the resolution of disqualification cases filed against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. were delayed.
In a memorandum addressed to Guanzon dated January 31, Ferolino told her senior commissioner that she did not “assent” to Guanzon's conclusion that she was delaying the release of the resolution.
“With all due respect, there is nothing to explain because I do not submit to your pronouncement that there is a delay in the release of my Ponencia on the Marcos cases,” she said.
“As a colleague and my Senior, I respect your vote vis-à-vis your separate opinion; more importantly, whether your vote is supported or defeated, it will not benefit me any way. As a co-equal member of this Commission, I am asking you to please stop conditioning the minds of the people that there is a delay because there is none.”
To back her argument, Ferolino cited one petition against Marcos, the resolution of which was released by the Comelec Second Division more than one month from November 26, 2021.
“More importantly, I am asking you to spare the Commission from all these controversies because you are destroying the credibility of the agency which you claimed to have previously served with integrity and candor,” she said.
Ferolino maintained that she always takes into consideration the timelines and the rules so she could perform her duty within the bounds of the law.
She added that the only reason for the unavailability of the resolution after 15 days was that she was reviewing the three consolidated cases and she wanted to craft an “objective” resolution.
Speaking before reporters Monday morning, Guanzon explained that the resolution could be easily written as one of the petitions in the consolidated cases against Marcos, the Mangelen case, had been junked while the two other petitions had the same admissions from the respondents.
Furthermore, Ferolino said she only learned of the memorandum issued by Guanzon last Friday, asking for a written explanation on the alleged delayed release of the resolution, through social media.
Citing Guanzon’s earlier statement to former Comelec chairman Andy Bautista, Ferolino told her senior in the First Division that she is not her subordinate.
She called Guanzon’s previous memorandum “erroneous,” saying she could not correct a “flawed” resolution once it was promulgated, unlike the senior poll official’s social media posts which she could easily take down.
“Further, I am judiciously scrutinizing all the attached evidence and understand the substance of these documents so that these will be rightfully appreciated in the process of penning the Ponencia,” Ferolino explained.
She said the petitions were raffled to her office on January 10 but these were only submitted for resolution on January 14.
Ferolino added that she admitted to Guanzon that her resolution was not yet available when the latter set the date of promulgation on January 17 and it would be broadcast live on Facebook.
She then hit Guanzon for advising her and her staff to “work 24-hours” and spend sleepless nights to finish the Ponencia.
“I cannot sacrifice the health and well-being of my staff over your stream time on Facebook,” she said.
Through GMA's Sandra Aguinaldo, Guazon said the facts in the case have already been admitted.
"She keeps on harping about how the cases are complex. but while these are consolidated petitions, the facts are the same. And the facts are admitted," she said.
"She keeps on saying that she is taking her time so she can properly appreciate the evidence of the parties, but the evidence are not even voluminous and only involved simple documents," Guanzon added.
She said the evidence consists of just "more or less 15 pages for respondent and petitioners each," excluding the earlier court decisions.
"You can read the exhibits in less than an hour. Think about them for the next 24 hours and make up your mind as to their probative value on the second day," she said.
Last week, Guanzon disclosed that she voted for the disqualification of Marcos, a move that she was forced to do as she noticed an “unreasonable delay” in the promulgation of the decision on the consolidated disqualification petitions in the First Division.
She claimed that the reason behind the delay were efforts to influence other commissioners, particularly the ponente of the resolution, referring to Ferolino.
Guanzon is the presiding officer and the most senior poll commissioner of the Comelec First Division.
Ferolino, however, accused Guanzon of trying to influence her decision on the said cases. — DVM, GMA News