MANILA — The camp of presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has asked Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon to inhibit herself from the disqualification cases pending before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division.
In a 17-page Motion for Inhibition filed by lawyers of Duterte, the Davao City mayor wants Commissioner Guanzon to refrain from participating in the hearings of the cases for being bias against the respondent.
“All the foregoing considered and to prevent Respondent Duterte from harboring in the back of his mind any thought that the scale of justice has been filed against him, Respondent Duterte is left with no other recourse but to ask that Commissioner Guanzon inhibits or disqualifies herself from the pending petitions,” it said.
The Motion added, “Wherefore, Respondent Duterte respectfully prays that Honorable Commissioner Guanzon inhibit herself from participating in any hearing of this petition pending resolution of this motion; and inhibit herself from further participating in the resolution of the pending petition.”
Duterte believed that Guanzon had shown bias when she became the lone dissenter in the commission en band’s decision back on Dec. 17 to accept the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for president of Duterte without prejudice to pending disqualification cases against him.
“Respondent Duterte was shocked by Commissioner Guanzon’s dissent mainly for the following reasons: a cursory reading of the Petition filed by Castor shows that it does not contain any of the allegations mentioned by Commissioner Guanzon in her dissent; said allegations were never raised as material issues during the Dec. 18 hearing conducted by the Comelec First Division on said Petition; and at the time Resolution No. 10028 was promulgated, no Petition was filed against Respondent Duterte raising said issues,” said the Motion.
“Respondent Duterte humbly submits that Commissioner Guanzon, consistent with due process and fair play, should have refrained from making any adverse conclusions with respect to the election documents of a candidate without first seeing and reading an actual petition raising such allegations and issues,” it added.
Likewise, Duterte’s camp has revealed the poll body official’s close association to the lawyer of John Paulo Delas Nieves, Atty. Maria Sheila Bazar.
The Motion noted how Bazar and Guanzon are both members/founders of the “Gender Justice Network,” which is an organization of lawyers and law students involved in gender issues.
“Respondent finds alarming Commissioner Guanzon’s association with Atty. Maria Sheila Bazar, the lawyer of petitioner Delas Nieves,” it added.
Four disqualification cases were filed against Duterte by broadcaster Ruben Castor, University of the Philippines (UP) Student Council Chairman John Paulo Delas Nieves and nuisance presidential candidates Rialto David, and lawyer Eli Pamatong.
The petitioners claimed that Duterte had no bona fide candidate to substitute for since the CoC for president of Martin Dino is materially defective and is, therefore, invalid. PNA / northboundasia.com