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Comelec's Guanzon wants Marcos Jr. to submit notarized med cert after failing to attend pre-conference on DQ cases

By NICK GARCIA Published Jan 10, 2022 5:40 pm

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the ousted dictator, will be required to submit a notarized medical certificate after failing to attend the hearing of his disqualification cases in the 2022 polls last Jan. 7, said Commission on Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

Guanzon reacted to the news about Marcos Jr.'s spokesman Vic Rodriguez, explaining how he was able to grant a radio interview with DZME 1530 on Jan. 6, Thursday, the day before the Comelec pre-conference that he skipped. He guested at around 4:45pm.

The interview clip quickly made rounds on social media thanks to critical netizens.

In reaction to the viral clip, Marcos Jr.'s camp issued a statement on Jan. 9, Sunday, confirming that he indeed had a DZME guesting in the afternoon, as well as another supposed radio interview before his 10:00 am check-up.

The two interviews happened, the camp said, despite Marcos Jr. "feeling unwell." The statement claimed that he was examined in between the two interviews.

“On the morning of Jan. 7, [Marcos Jr.] was obliged to go in isolation because his condition worsened. It was at that time the Comelec wanted him to appear even through a video conference,” Rodriguez said in a statement. "“A judgment call was made to let [him] continue with his needed rest, since he was in bed after taking his medicines."

"We believe it was that afternoon interview which exacerbated his condition," he added.

Guanzon questioned why the Marcos Jr. camp cannot submit a medical certificate dated Jan. 6, "if this is true."

"I will order the doctor and Atty. (Vic) Rodriguez to show cause or require his physician to have his medical certificate notarized," Guanzon tweeted. "I have to require the doctor who examined Marcos Jr. to have his medical certificate notarized and indicate his medical license number."

On Jan. 7, Marcos Jr. skipped Comelec's pre-conference at 9:00 am. His camp argued that he wasn't feeling well due to exposure to at least two individuals who later turned out positive for COVID-19.

Asked if he can attend even via Zoom, his lawyer Hanna Barcena, who was physically present in the Comelec meeting, said they're "afraid that he might cause the spread of the virus."

After about an hour, Guanzon asked his camp to present a medical certificate as proof of his condition. At around 11:30 am, the Marcos Jr. camp submitted a medical certificate.

Marcos Jr. was said to have "body malaise and difficulty in speaking due to a painfully congested throat," among many other reasons, as of 10:00 am of Jan. 6, based on the Jan. 7 medical certificate issued by Dr. Benedict Francis Veldecañas of Aegle Wellness Center.

The Akbayan party-list, meanwhile, urged Comelec to cite Marcos Jr. in contempt for allegedly lying about his absence, if not disqualify him from the presidential race.

“He lied through his teeth. He deserves to be held in contempt," Akbayan said in a statement on Jan. 10. "The fact that he was able to give a radio interview less than a day before his required appearance in a hearing is not only proof of deception, it shows the whole nation that he does not care about our laws and the procedures that bind every citizen to follow them."

"[H]e is not qualified to run for public office," the Akbayan statement further read.

Akbayan is among several groups that filed a disqualification case against Marcos, citing his four convictions for violating the Tax Code.

Guanzon is the presiding commissioner of the Comelec First Division, which is handling three petitions to stop Marcos Jr.'s presidential bid. The lone Aquino appointee in the seven-member poll body, she's set to retire on Feb. 2.