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Guanzon: Ferolino may face impeachment for violating anti-graft laws while handling Marcos DQ cases

Commissioner Aimee Ferolino may face an impeachment complaint for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act while handling the consolidated disqualification cases against presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., outgoing Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Tuesday.

Guanzon made the warning in a television interview when asked about the possibility of facing defamation charges over her recent accusations against Ferolino.

“She should be afraid of me. I might file an impeachment complaint against her for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Guanzon said in an interview on ANC.

“Do not threaten me with libel suits because I was a professor of law and a practicing lawyer for more than 25 years. You can sue me anywhere in the country,” she added.

Asked about plans to file an impeachment case against Ferolino, Guanzon answered: “I can.”

GMA News Online has sought Ferolino’s comment on the matter, but she has yet to respond as of posting time.

Last week, Guanzon disclosed that she voted for the disqualification of Marcos, a move she said she was forced to do due to the “unreasonable delay” in the promulgation of the decision in the First Division. She blamed the delay to alleged efforts to influence Ferolino.

Ferolino, however, accused Guanzon of trying to influence the decision on the cases.

Senator's hand

Guanzon earlier linked an unnamed senator to the delay in the resolution of the petitions against Marcos.

In the same television interview Tuesday, Guanzon dropped more hints about the senator, saying he is married, from Davao and had voted for Ferolino’s confirmation at the Commission on Appointments.

“You know, Commissioner Ferolino lacking in experience and practice of law was nominated and strongly supported by a senator or at least one senator. That is already on record that she will not act like this if it’s not for that senator who will order her because they’re very close ever since they were both in Davao. I will not name him anymore because his wife already knows. It’s already viral,” Guanzon said.

“It’s enough for me that his wife already knows and that’s going to be a war in his household,” she added.

On Monday, she told reporters that she would tell Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas about the politician, who allegedly tried to intervene in the resolution of disqualification cases against Marcos, to give him a chance to exert a “last-ditch effort” to resolve the problem among themselves.

Guanzon refused to name the senator when pressed to identify him, but she said she already informed a “person in authority” and she will disclose it in a proper forum.

She said she is willing to testify before the Senate if the lawmakers will call her attention.

Asked if she will file a case against the said senator, the poll official said: “No. His wife is already angry at him. It is already viral. So, that’s his problem, not mine. Let us focus on Bongbong Marcos as a weak leader. Let us focus on Bongbong Marcos’ moral turpitude. That is my decision.”

Call to Abas

On the other hand, Guanzon made a call for Abas to initiate and resolve the issue of delay in the release of decision on the disqualification petitions against Marcos, noting that there is a “leadership problem” in the Comelec.

Initially, Guanzon said there was an executive session that Abas called to discuss the issue on the delay but Ferolino did not attend it.

“It should be Chairman Abas telling Ferolino: ‘You release that kasi pati ako nadadamay na dito [because I was being dragged into the issue]. They are telling me I am a weak leader here,’” she said.

“Imagine, magre-retire na rin si Chairman Abas, wala pang desisyon [Chairman Abas will be retiring but there was no decision yet] on the very most important case of this year. That’s why I am calling on Chairman Abas,” she added.

Guanzon also clapped back at Ferolino for telling her, in a memorandum released Monday, that she is not her subordinate.

“I am the senior member. Hindi ka ba subordinate [Are you not my subordinate]? You are under the supervision of the presiding commissioner when it comes to speedy resolution of cases,” Guanzon said.

In a memorandum addressed to Guanzon on Monday, Ferolino further accused the senior poll commissioner of conditioning the mind of the public, maintaining that there was no delay in the resolution of the disqualification cases against Marcos.

On Tuesday morning, Guanzon said the delay in the release of the resolution was also meant to block Commissioner Marlon Casquejo’s vote.

On February 3 or a day after Guanzon’s retirement, Ferolino will be joined by Commissioner Socorro Inting in the First Division.

Inting, as the most senior Comelec commissioner, will serve as the presiding officer of the First Division, which handles the consolidated disqualification cases against Marcos.

Inting, the current presiding officer of the Comelec Second Division, which junked two petitions against Marcos, will be replaced by Casquejo following the poll body’s seniority protocol.

Guanzon already authorized the release of her separate opinion where she voted for Marcos’ disqualification.

Militant groups

Meanwhile, some militant groups on Tuesday urged the Comelec to release the decision on the disqualification case against Marcos.

The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law was alarmed by Guanzon's revelation that a political figure was trying to influence the poll body regarding Marcos' case.

"Commissioner Guanzon’s vote to disqualify Marcos Jr. is a vote for truth, justice, and integrity — an assertion of facts that a shameless liar and convicted criminal must not be allowed to run for any public post, especially the highest and most powerful position in the land. To allow such is a mockery of our elections, our democracy, and our history," CARMMA said.

Anakpawis and PAMALAKAYA also expressed support for the vote of Guanzon, noting that her vote should be followed by her fellow commissioners to restore the poll body’s integrity and impartiality.

"To heed the public clamor against the return of another Marcos to Malacañang is not only Comelec’s integral duty, but moreover a political necessity for the highest interest of the Filipinos who aspire for an honest, clean, and fair elections,” Fernando Hicap, former lawmaker and PAMALAKAYA chairman, said. —with Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News