Bautista questions Guanzon’s comment on Poe DQ case
Mayen Jaymalin, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista took issue with a commissioner for submitting to the Supreme Court a comment on the disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe without the concurrence of the other commissioners.

In a memorandum, Bautista asked Commissioner Rowena Guanzon to explain within 24 hours why she did not give the full Comelec the chance to review the comment she submitted to the SC. “Under what authority was the comment filed?” Bautista asked. 

Bautista stressed Guanzon was aware of the High Court’s giving the Comelec until Jan. 12 to submit a comment.

But in a tweet, Guanzon said there was nothing irregular in the preparation and filing of the comment because it bore the “imprimatur” of the full commission.

If the members of the Commission find Guanzon’s comment unsatisfactory, Bautista said, he would be constrained to inform the High Court that the filing of the comment was unauthorized. Bautista had voted in favor of Poe in her disqualification cases.

The Comelec earlier asked the SC for a five day extension to comment on Poe’s petition against her disqualification following the refusal of the Office of the Solicitor General to represent the poll body in the case.

The First and Second Divisions of the Comelec disqualified Poe from the presidential race, citing citizenship and residency issues.

Last Thursday, the Comelec submitted a Guanzon-penned comment on Poe’s petition.

In the comment, the Comelec reiterated its position that Poe should be disqualified based on evidence submitted to the Commission.  

Guanzon, in her tweet, said the Comelec on Jan. 5, “did not require that all of us have to review or approve the comment before it is filed because of urgency.”

She added the Comelec’s making the memorandum public “has cast a stain on my reputation as a commissioner and as a lawyer.”

“I must emphasize that as a commissioner, I am not a subordinate or employee of Chair Bautista and he has no administrative supervision or control over me,” she maintained.

A Comelec source said that poll officials were surprised at the haste with which Guanzon filed the comment.

Poe’s camp also aired its concern over Guanzon’s action.

Poe spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said it is alarming to see a Comelec in disarray with a commissioner not on the same page as its chairman.

Gatchalian said Bautista should get his house in order and do something about the questionable action taken by Guanzon.

“We believe the action of commissioner Guanzon is wrong as she is usurping the powers reserved for the en banc,” Gatchalian said.

“From day one we have been saying that certain personalities inside Comelec have political agendas against Senator Poe,” he said.

“These personalities have been driven by political biases against Senator Poe,” he added.

He said that Bautista should initiate an investigation into Guanzon’s action in order to ensure that the Comelec remains an impartial body.

“Chairman Bautista should unmask these personalities and make them publicly accountable. The actions of commissioner Guanzon are undermining our electoral process and endangering our very democracy,” Gatchalian pointed out.

In her disqualification cases before the Comelec, only Bautista and commissioner Christian Robert Lim sided with Poe while the rest of the commissioners voted to disqualify her.

 

A COMELEC ACIRC BAUTISTA COMELEC COMMENT COMMISSIONER GATCHALIAN GUANZON HIGH COURT POE SENATOR POE
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