UniTeam senatorial aspirant Harry Roque today predicted a significant legal victory for standard-bearer Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. at the Commission on Elections en route to a possible majority win in the presidential race.
Roque said he expected the 1st Division to favor Marcos since the new presiding commissioner is acting Comelec chair Soccoro Inting.
“I do not think that Justice Inting, who was the ponente of the 2nd Division that dismissed petitions to cancel Apo Bongbong’s certificate of candidacy, would change her position and disregard judicial consistency,” Roque said.
“It is safe to assume that majority of the commissioners have voted to dismiss the petitions against (Bongbong’s) candidacy. We need to trust their collective wisdom.”
Roque said Marcos would become the country’s first elected majority president in a long time should the former senator hurdle any appeal filed before Comelec en banc and the Supreme Court.
“If we go by opinion poll results, more than 50 percent of the electorate would vote for Apo BBM as president of the 17th republic if the elections were held this time,” Roque stated.
According to Roque, the invalidated separate opinion released by retired Commissioner Rowena Guanzon had unwittingly disclosed that hers was the minority decision in the 1st Division.
At the same time, Roque said institutions like the Comelec should be strengthened to keep the country’s democracy alive and stable.
Roque said the Comelec’s reputation had been adversely affected by the infighting between Guanzon and Commissioner Aimee Ferolino.
“We should prevent the erosion of Comelec’s integrity, which I believe started during the term of former chair Andres Bautista,” he said. “Unfortunately, instead of facing his criminal cases and Congressional inquiry, he fled to the United States.”
He continued : “One lesson that can be derived from the pre-election brouhaha caused by Commissioner Guanzon is that all members of the court must respect the judicial process and rules of procedure.”
He added that former politicians should not be appointed to the poll body because their political affiliation would affect their judgment.
With Comelec chairmanship vacant, Roque said the public must revisit the alleged irregularities, such as the data privacy breach that occurred under chair Bautista’s watch.
“Until now, we have yet to get a sworn statement from Commissioner Bautista explaining the controversies related to the 2016 elections, particularly in the vice presidential race,” Roque said.
Bautista has been hiding in the United States after facing impeachment proceedings in Congress in 2017.
“Why is he running from the law? Why has he not come forward with the truth about fraud allegations in the 2016 elections?” Roque asked. “These are issues we need to remember now that President Duterte is about to appoint a new Comelec chief.”