Statement from Guam Supreme Court: Gutierrez Appeal to Overturn Calvo Gubernitorial Victory Denied

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Guam – The Guam Supreme Court issued the following news release Saturday regarding the decision by the High Court to deny a petition from the Democratic Gubernatorial team of Gutierrez-Aguon to overturn the Guam Election Commission’s certification of  the GOP team of Calvo-Tenorio as the winners of the 2010 Gubernatorial race.

Today [Saturday], the Supreme Court of Guam denied the Petitioners’ request for an extraordinary writ in the case of Carl T.C. Gutierrez and Frank B. Aguon, Jr. v. The Guam Election Commission, Joseph Mesa, Martha Ruth, John Taitano, Alice Taijeron, John Terlaje, Joshua Tenorio and Robert
Cruz and Real Parties in Interest Edward B. Calvo and Raymond Tenorio.

In an order signed by Chief Justice Robert J. Torres, Justice Katherine A. Maraman, and Justice Pro Tempore Miguel S. Demapan, the Court found that the actions of the GEC board were not outside the scope of its authority and, even if GEC members lacked a legal right to office, they acted under color of authority as de facto members.

The Petition brought by Gutierrez-Aguon sought to vacate the certification of the election and to cancel the certificates of election issued to Calvo and Tenorio. Gutierrez-Aguon argued that the appointment of GEC members was not in accordance with Guam election law and that, consequently, the actions of the GEC members were invalid and without legal force or effect.

The Court asserted its discretion to hear the petition as it concerned a matter of great public importance. The Court found that although the record concerning the status of the GEC members was inconclusive, Gutierrez-Aguon did not prove any misconduct or bad faith by the members during the exercise of their duties. As such, the members properly acted as de facto officers of the GEC even if their individual terms had expired.

Based on this determination, the Court concluded that the certification of the gubernatorial election on November 6, 2010 and the issuance of the certificates of election to Edward J. Calvo and Raymond S. Tenorio were not improper.

Because the Court ruled that the statutes concerning appointment of GEC members were directive rather than mandatory, any lapses in compliance with those statutes would not be sufficient cause to disturb the election results as previously determined by the GEC. The Gutierrez-Aguon petition was, therefore, denied.”