QUEZON CITY - Former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioners Atty. Rowena Guanzon and Atty. Luie Tito Guia call on the new COMELEC chairperson and commissioners to prioritize the resolution of pending cases, including the disqualification cases filed against Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The two former COMELEC officials made the statement during an online webinar on the roles and responsibilities of the incoming COMELEC chairperson and commissioners of non-partisan, pro-democracy coalition PARTICIPATE held last Friday.
Both Guia and Guanzon said there is nothing more the new appointees can change insofar as the administrative conduct of elections is concerned. There are, however, still many pending cases that need to be resolved.
“In terms of administrative work at COMELEC, that is already set long before the election. Kumbaga may compass na, it’s just a question of implementing or executing the plans at this point in time,” Guia explained.
“But ang tingin ko ang priority diyan, maraming pending cases especially those that are necessary, those that need to be resolved prior to the elections. Doon siguro magandang magfocus ang bagong commissioners,” he added.
Guanzon revealed some COMELEC officials are deliberately not acting on some pending cases.
“Iyong cases i-dispose na nila yan, masyado na marami kumita diyan. Pinapatulog ang kaso para kumita lalo na mga pulitiko na natalo na, tulog pa iyong kaso. I was the one who insisted on resolving all the election offenses cases when I chaired one time… Na-zero backlog namin iyon. Naubos iyong election backlog na pending.” Guanzon said.
The former lady commissioner also explained the importance of the COMELEC’s role in the disposition of pending cases.
“Improtante talaga ang chair. The chair must lead. Kailangan iyong kumpas ba. Pag kailangan, gamitin niya iyong baston. Bastonero sya. Mga backlog diyan grabe. I finished everything except that darned BBM DQ case,”
Resolve the Marcos cases before elections
With the COMELEC En Banc now complete with 7 members, both Guia and Guanzon believe that the COMELEC can now decide on the pending cases faster.
Guanzon identified the Marcos disqualification cases as the ones with the most public interest now and should be resolved immediately.
“The important thing is they decide that before May 9 for the sake of the people. Then the Supreme Court can just rule on it before May 9. So that there’s stability in our elections and in our democracy,” Guanzon insisted.
Guanzon and Guia were both part of the COMELEC En Banc in 2015 that decided within 68 days on the disqualification cases against then Presidential candidate Grace Poe. The case was then brought to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Poe was allowed to run for president just two months before the May elections.
Now, two months before the elections, the cases are still pending before COMELEC and have not yet reached the Supreme Court.