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TURNING POINT: A Division Divided

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 2 Feb) – There’s an undue delay in the submission of the ponencia, the written decision, on the consolidated disqualification cases against Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a presidential aspirant for the 2022 elections, so declared Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, the presiding commissioner of the Commission on Elections First Division that handled the said consolidated cases against Marcos.

Adding to the public furor is Guanzon’s revelation that an influential official, a senator, is throwing his weight on Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, the ponente, to cause said delay.

A ponencia is the written decision of a court or a quasi-judicial tribunal, reflecting the majority opinion of its members, the task of writing it of which is assigned to a member who belongs to that majority.

The ponencia is signed by those who concurred with it (what is finally written) to become the official verdict of that body. A member who disagrees with the majority opinion may submit his dissenting opinion, which forms part of the transcript of the decision-making. Likewise, a member who shares the majority opinion may write his concurring opinion, which may shed more light to the decision of the body.

Guanzon’s term ends today, February 2, 2022. She alleges that Ferolino’s delay in submitting the ponencia is deliberate, the intention of which is to exclude her in deciding or voting on what is finally written as judgment of the Division on the cases at bar. So, she was left with no option but to come out and share to the public what she calls as separate opinion explaining her stand – why she is for the disqualification of BBM.

She does not call what she shares to the public either a concurring or a dissenting opinion as she does not know whether what would be finally written aligns with her position or not.

Delaying judgment on Marcos disqualification cases is greatly unjust to the Filipino nation. Just allowing a confirmed convicted criminal, (a tax evader, a thief therefore), an incorrigible liar, a highly irresponsible and unrepentant son of a former murderous dictator and plunderer to run for the highest post of the land is terribly insulting and humiliating and makes us a laughingstock in the community of nations.

If allowed to run, he might yet win, considering the fabulous plundered wealth of his family at his disposal which could do a lot of things to corner votes. Their wealth, for instance, has fertilized a huge troll farm that is vigorously campaigning for him by disinformation. Sans disqualification and he wins, God forbid, the nation will again be in deep shit.

What could happen in this delaying stratagem? Who would benefit from it?

New commissioners will be appointed to replace Guanzon and possibly Casquejo. Their votes no longer count and the reorganized division will go back to square one in deciding the assigned cases. More delay. BBM’s disqualification cases may not even have a chance of reaching the Supreme Court. Thus, Marcos will remain in the ballot.

But remaining in the ballot and even winning the election is not for BBM and his camp to rejoice.

If he and his vice president win and proclaimed, and the first Division release a disqualification verdict, Marcos is out, and Sara Duterte succeeds as president of the Republic.

To avoid us from falling again into another shithole, let us rally behind the best qualified candidate – the most courageous leader in the field with proven public service record, and with untainted morality and unquestionable integrity.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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