SUPREME Court (SC) Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. and his son Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco denied allegations that they had a hand in voiding the proclamation of lawyer Regina Ongsiako Reyes who ran in the lone Congressional District of Marinduque but lost for being an American.
The Court magistrate issued a statement, thru lawyer Theresa Genevieve Co, stating he did not even participate in the case and “he actually inhibited from the case although his son, Lord Allan Jay, is not a party to said case.”
Co said the allegation that Velasco wielded his influence in the case was “baseless and malicious.”
“Being a lawyer and an officer of the court, Atty. Reyes should have been circumspect in her statements,” Co stressed.
Rep. Velasco, on the other hand, accused Reyes, a lawyer, with unethical and improper conduct in breach of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and her Oath of Office when she made irresponsible, unethical and malicious statements in connection with the court’s decision to oust her.
The Court upheld the May l4, 20l3 Comelec resolution which ordered the cancellation of Reyes’ certificate of candidacy—she being an American citizen who had not complied with Republic Act 9225, or the Reacquisition and Retention Act of 2003, and for not having the one-year residency required under the Constitution.
On July 11, 20l3, Reyes called a press conference and accused Velasco of “wielding his influence” on the members of the Court in the issuance of the June 25, 20l3 Resolution which affirmed the May l4, 20l3 Comelec Resolution and the March 27, 20l3 Resolution of the First Division.
Being a member of the Philippine Bar, an officer of the court and a law practitioner in the United States for more than l5 years, Reyes is seen as having violated the sub judice rule where a party is not allowed to talk about the merits of the case while it is still under judicial consideration or determination.
Reyes’ petition is still pending before the High Court although the petition was already dismissed for lack of proof showing that Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the May l4, 20l3 Resolution.
“Said resolution is not yet final as Reyes intends to file a motion for reconsideration,” Velasco said. “Thus, Reyes should have refrained from talking about the case and presenting alleged evidences in support of her case as this is in violation of Rule l3.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that a lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.”
With the press statements of Reyes, Velasco accused Reyes of influencing and even intimidating the Court so she can obtain a reversal of the adverse June 25, 20l3 Resolution which is in breach of Canon 11 of the CPR that “a lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers” and Rule ll.03 that “a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the Courts.”
Velasco has been declared as rightful winner in the race after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) annulled Reyes’ proclamation on the basis of a Supreme Court (SC) decision disqualifying her from the post despite her proclamation.
With a vote of five against two, the majority of the Commissioners headed by Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., declared Reyes’ proclamation as null and void for her being an American citizen.
In the SC ruling, majority of the magistrates led by Associate Justice Jose Perez ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec.