The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for disclosing her decision to vote for the disqualification of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in the 2022 elections.
In a statement on Friday, Attorney George Briones, PFP general counsel, said Guanzon "illegally disclosed and leaked with undue haste" her vote in the case against Marcos, PFP's standard bearer in the May 2022 elections.
"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," Briones said.
"The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas requests the Commission on Elections En Banc to conduct an administrative investigation immediately against Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for her violation of the above canons of Judicial Ethics and Code of Judicial Conduct before her retirement benefits are released," he added.
Guanzon, who is set to retire on February 2, said on Thursday that she already submitted her opinion on the case to the two other commissioners of the First Division — Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo — and other commissioners of Comelec.
Guanzon, who said she voted for Marcos' disqualification, also said she received information that there were efforts to influence the commissioners.
Guanzon, in response, was unfazed. In The Mangahas Interviews on Friday, she challenged PFP to face her in a debate.
"Marunong pa kayo sa akin eh ako itong propesor ng batas. Masyado kayong marunong. Sinong abogado diyan ang haharap sa akin sa debate kung may violation ako dito? Sige nga, mag-debate kami dito sa TV," she said.
(You think you're more knowledgable than me, a law professor. Any lawyer there willing to face me in a debate regarding possible violation in this issue? Let's debate on TV.)
In a tweet, Guanzon issued the challenge specifically to Briones.
"I challenge George Briones of Partido Federal of BBM to a debate on TV. If he thinks he is brighter than me he shouod [sic] agree," she said, adding PFP is "diverting the issue."
Guanzon also said she is not worried about being disbarred.
"Huwag niyo ako takut-takutin ng disbarment ha at puwede akong magtanim ng tubo kung hindi ako maka-practice [ng law]," she said.
(Don't threaten me with disbarment because I can live as a farmer if ever I will not be allowed to practice law.)
She said if anyone has a violation regarding the issue, it is Ferolino. "Baka si Commissioner Ferolino ang may violation dito sa Anti-Graft law [Perhaps it is Commissioner Ferolino who is violating the Anti-Graft Law.]
Guanzon has named Ferolino as the ponente in the said case.
Sought for comment on Guanzon's revelations, Ferolino told GMA News: "I'm afraid I cannot comment on the matter because it might be against the sub judice rule."
For Briones, Guanzon's act of disclosing her "minority opinion" prior to the submission of other commissioners' opinions and before the promulgation of the complete decision was "double hearsay," noting that it must be condemned by the Supreme Court as unworthy of a sitting poll body commissioner.
"This unauthorized leaking by Commissioner Guanzon is a breach of duty that amounts to breach of public trust as the committee believes the leak was motivated by self-interest," Briones said.
He claimed that Guanzon's disclosure, with her statement that a certain politician was trying to influence the poll body, was done to put her fellow commissioners under a cloud of suspicion.
Briones said Guanzon has shown undue interest in the case by disclosing her vote. He alleged that Guanzon did this to support the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo.
"Commissioner Guanzon's mad rush to come out with a decision of the First Division bares her true color which is yellow. She has openly sided with candidate Leni Robredo, who is the candidate of petitioners, by her undue haste to come out with a decision resorting to illegally leaking her minority opinion to the news media," Briones said. --KBK, GMA News