Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner Rowena Guanzon should have know better. Leaking her decision on the disqualification petition against administration candidate Bongbong Marcos to the media was wrong because it violates the “sub judice” rule for cases that are still in review. No less than COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez himself explained in his piece “Sub judice” published in the Business Mirror on April 2018 this rule that Guanzon now violates with impunity…
It is a rule that, in essence, restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings, as a well settled limitation on the freedom of speech. It encompasses not only the participants in the pending case, including the members of the bar and bench, the litigants and witnesses, but also to the public in general—necessarily covering statements made by public officials.
Jimenez goes on to write about what he thinks motivates people to break this rule and why he disagrees with their reasons for doing so…
I understand why people choose to ignore the rule, and why some quarters would rather hear—or read about— battling soundbites. It’s certainly more exciting that way and, on a more practical note, probably provides a comforting buffer against an uncertain (or predictable, depending on how you look at things) outcome. I understand, sure, but I disagree. Despite the adrenalin rush of being in a wild-wild-west environment created by ignoring the sub judice rule, the fact remains that it ultimately does not advance the cause of determining the truth about the issues at hand. Quite the opposite.
Even more interesting is that Guanzon herself is a stickler for this rule and seems to apply it selectively on parties that are, shall we say, associated with political camps that are opposed to those she is evidently loyal to. In 2019, Guanzon invoked the sub judice rule while overseeing the review of petitions filed against former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema whose application for substitution as the first nominee of the Duterte Youth party-list was being protested at the time by the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines, the National Union of Students of the Philippines, and Youth Act Against Tyranny. Guanzon reportedly warned participants in the review…
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“Refrain from giving interviews since he [Cardema] is already sub judice,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said during the first hearing of the case.
The same Inquirer report notes; “A violation of this rule is punishable under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court”, suggesting that Guanzon could be in contempt as it applies to quasi-judicial bodies such as the COMELEC. Nonetheless media organisations allied with the Opposition are only too happy to indulge Guanzon’s impunity with Rapplerette Paterno Esmaquel II getting up close and personal with the “embattled” COMELEC commisioner.
NOW: Rappler’s news editor @paterno_II sits down with feisty Commissioner @rowena_guanzon to dig deeper into the infighting among Comelec officials and what led her to cast a vote against the candidacy of the ousted dictator’s son.#RapplerTalk: https://t.co/Pib497VMqf
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) January 28, 2022
It is clear that rules, as far as Yellowtards see them, magically turn into mere recommendations whenever it suits their dishonest agendas. In this particular case, it is quite evident that Guanzon is acting in desperation — desperation to fulfill her role as the Yellowtard COMELEC commissioner the Opposition are counting on to commandeer her office to the noble mission of preventing another Marcos presidency. And these crooks wonder why Filipinos are so on to them and their dishonest campaign.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.