MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday came to the defense of its commissioners as it shrugged off allegations of being biased.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez made the remark in response to the motion for partial consideration filed by the petitioners challenging the Second Division's ruling which junked their petition seeking to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“The Commission stands by the integrity of its commissioners. But specifically, because ponente was Commissioner Socorro Inting, I mentioned her long experience in the judiciary including her years as Court of Appeals justice. Let the record stand for itself,” he said in a virtual press briefing.
Jimenez said instances such as parties to a case under review requesting division officials to inhibit are not new.
“It is common to have parties request for a particular commissioner or a division to inhibit itself...as far as treatment of this is concerned it will be reviewed by the Commission en banc. Whether or not anyone will inhibit it would be on the person whose inhibition is being sought,” he said.
Lawyer Theodore Te, counsel for petitioners Fr. Christian Buenafe, among others, asked for the Commissioners of the Second Division -- Inting, Antonio Kho, and Rey Bulay -- to recuse themselves from reviewing the case.
“They would have to make the determination on whether or not they are able to sit in judgments on the matter with proper impartiality and that’s up to them. It has happened in the past that we have had commissioners inhibit voluntarily especially if the matter at hand is something which they are personally related or they have a stake in. But in this case, I really can’t say whether or not such an inhibition will actually happen,” he added.
Last week, the Second Division junked the petition against Marcos for lack of merit. (PNA)