Religious leaders called on the Commission on Elections Tuesday, February 1, to release the decision on the cases seeking to disqualify Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from running for president immediately and to investigate rumors that politics is behind the delay.
If Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino does not release her resolution on the Marcos disqualification cases on Wednesday, February 2, the vote of Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon to disqualify Marcos cannot be attached to it and counted.
Guanzon, who has accused Ferolino of delaying the release of her resolution, is retiring on Wednesday. She is from Cadiz City in Negros Occidental.
The religious leaders, in a joint statement, said, “We believe that truth is a light of hope. Those who judge should do so with truth at the center of their minds. The gathering of evidence and discernment of facts is essential in making decisions in the best interest of the Filipino people and our democracy.”
“As difficult as it may be for some to face, democracy itself has been weakened through politicizing and politicking, even within the judicial mechanisms of our beloved homeland. The basic tenet that ‘justice is blind,’ that justice seeks to adjudicate based on presented evidence and facts in light of the law, is no longer upheld in many corners of the government,” they said.
Guanzon has exposed that within the Comelec, she believes that the decision on the case to disqualify Marcos Jr. from candidacy is being purposefully delayed to remove her voice from the case, they said, adding that as she is set to retire time is of the essence.
The main point at hand is the timely adjudication of the evidence and facts of a particular consolidated case seeking to disqualify Marcos Jr. from candidacy, they said.
“We, leaders of One Voice, join the stand for truth and urge the Comelec to release their decision before the retirement of Commissioner Guanzon to avoid any appearance that the intention is to stifle her opinion.
Furthermore, we urge an investigation into rumors and reports that politicking was behind the delay in the release of the decision”, they said.
The COVID-19 pandemic must not delay justice, but even more, the Comelec should rise to the dignity of judgment, where “justice is blind” and based on the truth that is presented, they said.
“The undue delay puts the people’s hope and trust in the democratic processes of our nation at risk. The integrity of our democracy, and our people’s confidence in it, is on the line,” they said.
The statement was signed by San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza – National Council of Churches in the Philippines general secretary, Obispo Maximo Rhee M. Timbang – Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Br. Armin A. Luistro – Brother Visitor, Lasallian East Asia District;
Bishop Emergencio Padillo of the Middle Luzon Jurisdictional Area, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Bishop Joel Tendero – executive secretary Ecumenical Bishops Forum, Sister Rowena Pineda – Sisters Association of Mindanao chairperson, and Sister Ma. Lisa Ruedas of the Daughters of Charity, Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation.*