COMELEC to gather evidence vs. Alice Guo

COMELEC to gather evidence vs. Alice Guo

THE Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is about to start its own probe against Suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo over alleged citizenship misrepresentation. According to COMELEC Chairman Atty. George Garcia, filing of quo warranto by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) against Guo indicates eligibility issues in her candidacy.

COMELEC will utilize OSG’s petition, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Senate findings for its own investigation.

“We will now start the ball rolling on the investigation to begin evidence gathering. Whatever findings our law department uncovers, they will provide recommendations to the En Banc, which will ultimately decide whether to file a case in court or not,” said Atty. George Garcia, Chairman, COMELEC.

“We will heavily rely on the OSG’s case, if it pushes through— and of course the findings of the NBI. But most importantly, we will give significant weight to the findings of the Senate Committee investigating this matter,” he added.

COMELEC will focus its investigation on the angle of misrepresentation. Part of filing a Certificate of Candidacy (COC) includes declaring oneself as a Filipino.

If it is proven that Guo lied about her citizenship or birth certificate, she could potentially face criminal charges and disqualification.

“Number one she could be disqualified, and her candidacy could be canceled for material misrepresentation. Number two, whether or not a case has been filed against her for cancellation of candidacy, she could face criminal charges. That’s misrepresentation under Section 2621 of the Omnibus Election Code, punishable by 3 to 6 years imprisonment. Of course, the liability of an individual violating our Omnibus Election Code is different because it involves lying and, therefore perjury, which is sworn or falsified. Those are different cases altogether,” said Garcia.

According to NBI findings, Alice Guo was confirmed as a Chinese national after her fingerprints matched those of Chinese National Guo Hua Ping.

NBI fingerprint findings to be compared with commission’s signature samples

COMELEC will formally request permission from the NBI to use the results of its fingerprint examination against Guo. They can compare this with Alice Guo’s signature samples submitted in her voter registration and COC in 2021.

“Because if the fingerprint we have— Alice Guo’s fingerprint that we have, and the Alice Guo they have are the same, then they are the same person. Therefore, if the fingerprint of Guo Hua Ping from the NBI and ours are also the same, then you can draw your own conclusion on that matter,” stated Garcia.

COMELEC also stated that if they proceed with filing a case against Guo, it is to serve as a warning to candidates who falsify their COCs in the upcoming elections.

“If ever, it’s proven that there is indeed substantial evidence that can withstand court scrutiny, we also want to impart a lesson to those filing their COCs this October, that you don’t just fill up your certificate or candidacy lightly. Aside from your obligation to the Filipino people and your constituency to be truthful and honest, you should understand that you are swearing an oath, and because of that, there comes a responsibility even if no attachments or documents are required,” he added.

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