Feisty Guanzon retires but won’t fade away

The feisty Negrense Commissioner Rowena Guanzon retired from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, February 2, but she is not just going to fade away.

Guanzon, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. bowed out of the poll body at retirement rites at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Wednesday.

Guanzon, who had slammed the delay in the release of the resolution of the cases calling for the disqualification of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said she is embarking on a voters’ education campaign after her retirement.

The fight against what is wrong and bad should continue, said Guanzon, who was Comelec commissioner for seven years.

“I retire today with honor and excellence, true to the tradition of the University of the Philippines and my parents, Sixto and Elvira Guanzon,” she also said on a Facebook post.

She said she hopes the next commissioners will serve the interest of the people because “a public office is a public trust”.

Guanzon said she is writing a book on election laws. “I’m already writing it now, I started it with my researcher – it’s a book on jurisprudence and procedure on election law,” she said.

The delay in the submission of the Marcos resolution shows that the Comelec needs reforms in its internal rules, she said.

“I think in the qualifications for commissioner, I think the bar should be raised higher. That will require Constitutional amendments… qualifications should include a certain number of years of law practice in courts”, she said.

Maybe the nominees should go through the Judicial and Bar Council to ensure their knowledge of the law, she said.

She also stressed the need for gender equality in the appointment of commissioners.

Guanzon is on the shortlist for Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas but it will be up to the president if he wants to give her the post, she said.

Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is also running for president, said in a statement: “I thank Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for calling me out in her fight for truth and justice. I thank her for her trust and confidence in me being a Christian”.

He commended Guanzon for her vigilance, and for standing and fighting for the truth in the Marcos disqualification case.

“She is a rare breed. I fully support her mission. And I call on all Filipinos to stand by her,” Pacquiao said.

“I also understand that she is reaching out to all Filipinos through media, because in our country, media represents an even playing field. The pursuit for truth and justice by Commissioner Guanzon is the basic tenet or foundation both of Christianity and Democracy. Carry on Commissioner Guanzon,” he said.*

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