The Comelec, speaking thru Comelec commissioner Art Lim, announced in a media conference yesterday that it would or it will “ratify and confirm” by resolution the Comment filed by Comm. Guanzon last Monday.
In law, to ratify means to make official, or to confirm, or to approve, or to validate, the act of a person who purports to be an agent, or representative, of the principal or a board (here, the Comelec). In other words, the act is not void but not fully valid either: the act is voidable: voidable means if not ratified by the principal, it becomes void; if ratified by the principal, it becomes valid.
Before that media conference by the Comelec was held, Chiz Escudero said he would question the “status”, or the nature, or validity (i’m paraphrasing) of the pleading (the Guanzon Comment) based on the memo of the Comelec chair that it was “unauthorized” when filed — Chiz said that “unauthorized” meant that Comm. Guanzon was not validly representing the Comelec when the Comment was filed, or was “misrepresenting” herself, as Chiz put it. “Misrepresentation” in law however is harsher because it has a criminal connotation. Not authorized to file on behalf of the Comelec — Ok, correct.
Before it is ratified, yes: question it. But after it is ratified, the matter might become mute and epidemic, er, este, moot and academic, depending on the speed of the Comelec in filing the resolution to ratify. I’m guessing fast. I’m guessing they will file it a few hours after dawn today. After all, they are fast writers — after all, among themselves they have written more than ten books some of which were for the United Nations.
Still, the Supreme Court has been known to write a full-length opinion on moot questions, “as a restraint upon the future” to quote Justice Isagani Cruz.
You know, it is not entirely moot and academic even if the Comelec commissioners are fast writers and have written more than ten books some of which were for the United Nations.
The individuals involved here are lawyers, parties, litigants, and officers of the Court. They may be members of a constitutionally independent body, but before the Supreme Court, they are litigants, lawyers, and officers of the Court, and are therefore expected to comport themselves in a manner that is in keeping with the dignity and integrity of the profession.
And the oral arguments are coming up in a few days.
(The headline in inquirer.net , “Comelec upholds Guanzon’s Comment…” is inaccurate; to uphold means to say that an act is correct; here, the act was characterized as unauthorized by the Comelec chair himself, the act was voidable, not correct. It can be validated by ratification. The lead paragraph and body of the news story uses the word “ratify and confirm”, the direct quote from the Comelec. Why would the headline –writer use “uphold” in the headline instead of the more accurate “ratify”?)