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Where are the party list groups that supported the presidential run of former vice president Leni Robredo in 2022?
This was the question raised by former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rowena Guanzon during a Rappler Talk interview on Tuesday, January 16.
“….Walang malisya ito. Sinasabi ko lang ah. Nasaan na ‘yong mga party list diyan na nag-Leni, na nakakuha ng boto sa mga kakampink (Robredo supporters) dahil nag-Leni sila? Nasaan na sila?” Guanzon said.
(No malice here, I’m just saying this. Where are the party-list groups that supported Leni? Those who got votes from kakampinks because they supported Leni? Where are they?)
“Nagsasalita ba sila kontra sa mga salungat sa truth and justice sa administration na ito? Magsalita naman kayo. Kaya nga kayo binoto ng tao eh dahil akala nila tatayo kayo for truth and justice. Ito confidential funds lang ito, quiet kayo,” she added.
(Are they speaking out against those who are not supportive of truth and justice under this administration? Speak up. People voted for you because they thought you would fight for truth and justice. In the confidential funds issue, you were quiet.)
After her stint with the Comelec, Guanzon sought a congressional seat through the P3WD party-list as a substitute nominee. The party won a seat in 2022, but Guanzon has yet to sit as a lawmaker pending the resolution of the petition against her substitution.
Duterte Youth, which was also at the center of a substitution controversy in 2019, questioned Guanzon’s substitution. The group questioned if Guanzon’s substitution was valid since she filed after the deadline. The issue has reached the Supreme Court, which held oral arguments back in November 2023 to discuss the issue.
Guanzon is now at the center of another concern – the former Comelec official faces a graft charge for publicizing her vote in the 2022 disqualification case of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Republic Act No. 3019, also known as the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, was passed to guard against anomalous transactions, usually involving public money. In Guanzon’s case, however, an Ombudsman resolution found her guilty of allegedly violating section (k) of the said law, which prohibits “divulging valuable information of a confidential character…. or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.”
In several instances, including the Rappler Talk interview, Guanzon reiterated that it was her duty to disclose to the public that there were politicians allegedly meddling with Marcos’ case in the Comelec.
As to the possible motivation behind the complaint against her, Guanzon said lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed the complaint as “revenge.”
“I told you that this is a revenge of Ferdinand Topacio because he is now accused of a cyber unjust vexation in Bacolod for making fun of me in the internet and embarrassing me, humiliating me, repeatedly calling me sick with dementia, etc. na hindi ko na kinaya (which I took offense with) because, as you know, my mother was bedridden and died with dementia,” Guanzon explained
“Kaya, nasaktan talaga ako doon kaya ako naghabla. Ngayon, revenge niya ito (That’s why I am really hurt because of that, so I filed a complaint. Now, this is his revenge),” she added.
Guanzon, meanwhile, said she will file a supplemental motion for reconsideration, on top of the motion for reconsideration, to ask the Ombudsman to reconsider the filing of charges against her. She added the complaint should have been filed with the Comelec, not with the Ombudsman, since the act in question happened during her term as a commissioner.
“Eh ngayon, private citizen ako eh ‘di ba? Private citizen ako eh. Bakit? Bakit? Bakit Ombudsman ang naghuhusga sa akin in a criminal case? Kaya abot po kami ng Supreme Court dito. Awa lang mga Diyos na ako’y malakas ang katawan po,” Guanzon said.
(Now, I am already a private citizen, right? I am a private citizen. Why? Why is the Ombudsman prosecuting me for a criminal case? That’s why we will reach the Supreme Court. With the mercy of the gods, I am still physically strong.)
You can watch the full interview here: