Guanzon hits Comelec decision to dismiss DQ petition vs. Marcos Jr.

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2022 06:01 PM

MANILA -- Former poll commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Friday flagged the Commission on Election's First Division ruling allowing Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to run for president in the 2022 elections.

Guanzon, who revealed last month that she voted to disqualify the only son and namesake of the former dictator from the presidential race, said Commissioner Aimee Ferolino's use of jurisprudence in deciding in favor of Marcos Jr. is wrong. 

In a statement, Guazon, who chaired that division till her retirement earlier this month, pointed out that the Ferolino equated crimes involving moral turpitude with crimes mala in se. 

“To support her stance, she cited the case of Zari vs. Flores which was decided back in 1979. “

Guanzon argued that more recent jurisprudence already reversed this. 

 

"As early as 1993, the Supreme Court already clarified in International Rice Research Institute vs. NLRC (G.R. 97239) that: [It] cannot always be ascertained whether moral turpitude does or does not exist by classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum prohibitum, since there are crimes which are mala in se and yet but rarely involve moral turpitude and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude and are mala prohibita only.”

Guanzon noted that this ruling was reiterated in Dela Torre vs. COMELEC and Villanueva in 1996. 

"So, it is quite wrong to say that an offense does not involve moral turpitude simply because it is an offense mala prohibita.”

Guazon also pointed out that Ferolino tried to justify her ruling by stating that as a general rule, all crimes of which fraud is an element are looked on as involving moral turpitude. 

“She cites Jesus-Paras vs. Vailoces. Yes, crimes where fraud is an element very likely involve moral turpitude. But it does not follow that when fraud is not an element of a crime, the same no longer involves moral turpitude."

"For instance, rape does not require that there be fraud, but surely, rape involves moral turpitude," she added.

“Moreover, in ruling out moral turpitude, Ferolino relied exclusively on the elements of the offense," Guanzon said.

“Determination of whether an offense involve moral turpitude is a question of fact and depends on all the surrounding circumstances. As shown in IRRI vs NLRC, an offense may involve moral turpitude under one set of circumstances while, in a different set of circumstances, it does not involve moral turpitude,“ she said.

Guanzon added that Ferolino chose to turn a blind eye to the circumstances surrounding Marcos Jr.’s offense.

The former commissioner also pointed out that Ferolino argued that Marcos Jr. did not voluntarily and intentionally violated the law. 

“Is he stupid that he did not know that he should file an ITR? Doesn't he claim to be an Oxford graduate? Why doesn't he know something as basic as that?" Guanzon said.

"No doubt he was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude," she added.