The presiding officer of the Commission on Elections' first division said Thursday she voted to disqualify Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. from running for president in the May 9 elections.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon revealed her vote ahead of the release of the official decision of the entire first division, which has been delayed after staff from the office of the commissioner tasked to write the ruling tested positive for COVID-19.
"Ang boto ko is DQ (disqualify) si Marcos Jr. Sa tingin ko may moral turpitude talaga based on evidence and the law," Guanzon said in an interview with GMA News. The division has three voting members, including Guanzon.
According to Guanzon, she submitted her vote on the cases as early as Jan. 17, but she claimed receiving information that a "powerful" person was supposedly influencing the commissioners to delay the release of the decision.
"Parang unreasonable na yung delay. Ang kutob ko talaga may nakikialam na. Some people are trying to influence the commissioners," she said.
"Malakas ang kutob ko based on information e. Saka kapag sinabi ko naman ang pangalan nila, baka masyado pang maaga," she added.
Guanzon is set to retire from the Comelec on Feb. 2, and she believes those who try to influence the case are just waiting for her to leave so her vote can be invalidated.
"They think they can invalidate it by releasing the resolution of the ponencia after I retire, which cannot happen because I already submitted by separate opinion to all of them including the chair and all the commissioners," she said.
"My vote should be counted and considered by the next presiding commissioner after me," she added.
Apart from Guanzon, the other members of the first division are Commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio. Guanzon declined to reveal the ponente or the writer of the decision.
The division has consolidated the disqualification petitions filed by a group of martial law survivors led by Bonifacio Ilagan, the Akbayan party-list, and a faction of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas led by Abubakar Mangelen, which means there will only be one ruling on these cases.
The first two petitions alleged that Marcos is "perpetually ineligible" to run for public office as he was found guilty of failing to file income tax returns and pay his income taxes from 1982 to 1985.
Mangelen, who introduced himself as the duly elected chairman of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, also said in his petition that Marcos' nomination as the party's standard-bearer was “unauthorized, defective, invalid and void."
Last week, the Comelec second division denied a petition seeking to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy, clearing one roadblock to his bid for the country's highest position in May. The poll body also dismissed a petition to declare Marcos as a nuisance candidate.