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Solon seeks Guanzon's return as P3WD party-list representative

Kabataan party-list representative Raoul Manuel on Monday called on the House of Representatives’ leadership to recognize former elections  commissioner Rowena Guazon as a member of 19th Congress.

Manuel said both Guanzon and P3WD, the party-list she represents have both been proclaimed winners in the 2022 polls by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The lawmaker said that the June 29, 2022 Supreme Court Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Comelec’s proclamation of Guanzon and P3WD party-list should have no bearing.

A previous high court ruling and the Constitution state that questions of qualifications concerning a member of Congress which arose after the proclamation can only be resolved by the House of Representatives or Senate Electoral Tribunal, he added. 

“For a person to become a Member of the House of Representatives, kailangan ang tatlong bagay: proclamation, oath of office at assumption of office. Nakapag-comply dito ang P3PWD Partylist. Na-proclaim ito noong June 22, 2022, at kinilala ng COMELEC ang first nominee nito na nanumpa noong parehong araw,” Manuel said in a privilege speech.

(P3WD party-list has complied with the requirement, and was proclaimed and recognized winners from the Comelec back in June 22, 2022.)

Manuel said Guanzon assumed office on June 30, 2022 and was even able to file House Bill 440 entitled Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities thru the Disability and Development Fund, copies of which were received and stamped.

“That said, Honorable  Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon, the first nominee of P3PWD Partylist, is a member of the House of Representatives and should be able to participate in our sessions and activities as our colleague. Also, if there are any concerns regarding their qualification, those should be settled in the HRET,” Manuel stressed.

“Naniniwala tayo na ang TRO na ipinataw ng Korte Suprema sa Comelec ay moot and academic. Labas na sa saklaw ng kapangyarihan ng COMELEC ang usapin matapos nitong iproklama ang P3PWD bilang isang nanalong party-list,” Manuel added.

(We believe that the TRO issued by the SC against Comelec is moot and academic since this issue is already beyond Comelec’s jurisdiction given the fact that P3WD and Guanzon have been proclaimed and declared winners by Comelec.)

Manuel then cited that depriving Guazon of the House seat due her and the persons with disabilities she represents in Congress is already unjustly denying the PWDs their rightful representation and voice in Congress.

“PWDs is a sector which has not been seen in terms of government policies. They have been pushing for inclusive policies on infrastructure and other programs addressing their limitations for so long. Komunidad ng Pamilya, Pasyente, at Persons with Disabilities Partylist or P3PWD partylist got 384,060 votes and were proclaimed winners, and yet they are yet to occupy the House seat due to them,” Manuel said.

“Ang bawat buwan ng patuloy na kawalan ng kinatawan ng nasabing partylist ay nagdudulot ng hindi na mababawing disenfranchisement sa persons with disabilities," he added.

(Every passing month that they are not given their due representation in Congress is a disenfranchisement of PWDs)

The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, persons with disabilities defines PWDs as “those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Based on government records from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are at least 1.44 million PWDs in the country.—LDF, GMA Integrated News