For prematurely disclosing vote vs BBM
SEASONED election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Friday recommended punishment against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for prematurely disclosing her vote to disqualify presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ahead of the First Division’s ruling.
Macalintal, ironically the lead counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo in the electoral protest filed by Marcos against her, said the Comelec en banc should look into the act of outgoing commissioner for possible violation on the confidentiality of the internal proceedings of the poll body.
He explained that what Guanzon, presiding commissioner of the poll body’s First Division handling the consolidated disqualification cases against Marcos, did was unprecedented and the first of its kind, stressing the opinions of Comelec officials will remain an opinion and not yet binding until a decision is fully written and signed.
“Until and unless the decision is released to the public, the individual positions or votes or opinions of the commissioners are confidential,” Macalintal said.
“Since it is highly irregular, Guanzon should be sanctioned by the Comelec en banc for violating the confidentiality of the internal proceedings of the Comelec,” Macalintal stressed.
Other members of the Comelec First Division include Commissioner Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio who served as the ponente or the one tasked to write the decision, and Commissioner Marlon Casquejo. When Guanzon made public her dissenting opinion, Ferolino-Ampoloquio has not yet released her judgment on Marcos’ disqualification cases.
Last Friday, Macalintal said the vote of Guanzon will no longer be counted if this will not happen until she retires as commissioner on February 2.
“If Guanzon retires on February 2 without any decision yet, her aforesaid vote will no longer be counted after such retirement date,” Macalintal said.
“This means that by February 3 Guanzon’s vote will no longer be considered and the Marcos’ case will just be decided by Amboloquio and Casquejo, unless a new Commissioner is immediately appointed by President Duterte to fill the vacancy created by Guanzon’s retirement from the Comelec. In which case, the new Commissioner will join Amboloquio and Casquejo to finally decide Marcos’ case in the First Division,” Macalintal said.
Last Thursday, Guanzon bared an alleged political interference has been causing the delay in the promulgation of Marcos’ consolidated cases in the Comelec’s First Division.
In her announcement, Guanzon said she had voted against Marcos because the latter was convicted of a crime allegedly involving moral turpitude.