MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) uploaded online on Wednesday, January 12, the transcript of the preliminary conference on the disqualification cases against 2022 presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
It was a rare move by the poll body, as the Comelec First Division is set to resolve three petitions against Marcos. The presiding commissioner of the First Division is Rowena Guanzon, the lone Aquino appointee in the Comelec, who is set to retire on February 2.
“This is the first time [this was done] in my experience,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said on Wednesday, January 12. “As to why, I don’t know. It was a decision made by the division. It’s not something that happens usually.”
The 70-page transcript of the January 7 hearing can be accessed below:
The hearing can also be viewed below:
In Friday’s preliminary conference, Guanzon was infuriated over Marcos’ absence, and his camp’s failure to immediately provide a medical certificate. The Comelec had required Marcos to attend the proceeding.
The medical certificate, which was only presented by the end of the three-hour hearing, said Marcos had a low-grade fever and “difficulty in speaking due to a painfully congested throat” the previous day.
Asked by Guanzon why Marcos cannot show up via Zoom even just for attendance, his lawyer Hanna Barcena said they are “afraid that he might cause the spread of the virus.”
Guanzon, however, was later made aware that Marcos took part in two radio interviews on January 6, so she asked the Marcos camp to have Marcos’ medical certificate notarized.
Friday’s preliminary conference saw Guanzon quiz counsels of petitioners and the respondent about issues presented in the disqualification cases.
At the center of the legal challenge against Marcos is his tax conviction in the 1990s, which petitioners argue is a basis to disqualify him from the 2022 race under Philippine laws.
Guanzon said the Comelec’s 1st Division will issue a ruling on the petitions “around January 17.” – Rappler.com