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BBM lawyer hits Guanzon over `leaked decision’

The camp of presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has sought the disbarment of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for allegedly leaking her decision over the disqualification case against Marcos even before her division can release promulgate its ruling.

“Because of her premature disclosure or leaking of her unpromulgated dissenting opinion, Commissioner Guanzon should be disbarred, with forfeiture of her retirement benefits and lifetime pension because she destroyed the reputation of the institution which these moneys come from,” said lawyer George S. Briones, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas general counsel, in a press statement released while their candidate was in the city.

Briones branded as both “fake news and false” the statement that the Comelec First Division has come out with its decision on the cases.

Marcos, who was confirmed to have visited the city yesterday, did not want to comment on the issue as he referred it to the lawyer of his party.

Briones said Guanzon must be probed for leaking her decision “with undue haste her vote to disqualify Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.” during an interview with a television report on Thursday.

Aside from Guanzon, also members of the division are Commissioners Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio and Marlon Casquejo with the former being the ponente of the decision. 

In seeking Guanzon’s disbarment, Briones cited Role 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which says:“A judge should behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” 

Briones said when Guanzon “publicly disclosed with undue haste her minority opinion, before the submission of the other commissioners’ opinion, and prior to promulgation of the complete decision, in order to put her fellow commissioners under a cloud of suspicion with her bare suspicions that an unnamed politician probably intervened is double hearsay and pure tsismis should be condemned by the Supreme Court as unworthy of a sitting Commissioner of the Comelec.”

He also cited Rule 3.07 of the Code which says: “A judge should abstain from making public comments on any pending or impending case and should require similar restraint on the part of court personnel.” 

“Commissioner Guanzon has shown undue interest in this case by leaking her decision before its promulgation. To the extent that she will forfeit her retirement benefits and lifetime pension to support the candidacy of vice president Leni Robredo who the petitioners in this case openly support speaks of how deep she (Guanzon) is interested i this case,” the Marcos lawyer added.

By leaking her position on the case before the promulgation, Briones said, Guanzon committed “a breach of duty that amounts to breach of public trust as the committee believes the leak was motivated by personal interest” as he accused the Comelec official of impeding and degrading the administration of justice.

He also accused Guanzon of showing “herself to be an incorrigible narcissist and has shown insatiable craving for posting in social media like Twitter which is not proper for a judge because, under Rule 2.02 of the Code, “A judge should not seek publicity for personal vainglory.” 

He added that then President Corazon Aquino, during the period of the revolutionary government, appointed Guanzon as officer in charge/mayor Cadiz Negros Occidental in 1986, while President Benigno Aquino III appointed her as commissioner of the Commission on Audit in 2013 and Comelec commissioner in 2015 as her term is set to end in FEbruary. 

“Commissioner Guanzon should have inhibited herself in these disqualification cases against Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. of the PFP,” said Briones.

Guanzon, he added, also violated Section 12 on Partisan Politics of the Canons of Judicial Ethics as her “mad rush to come out with a decision of the First Division bares her true color which is Yellow. 

“She (Guanzon) has openly sided with presidential candidate Leni Robredo who is the candidate of petitioners, by her undue haste to come out with a decision resorting to illegally leakingher minority opinion to the news media,” he added.

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