Binay: Pasig judge will be punishedBy Nikko Dizon, Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Vice President Jejomar Binay is certain the Pasig City judge who blocked the filing of the criminal cases against Delfin Lee will eventually be “punished.”
In an interview on the sidelines of the 23rd National Quality Forum at the Edsa-Shangri-La Hotel where he was the keynote speaker, Binay lashed out at Pasig Regional Trial Court Rolando Mislang who issued the injunction order stopping the Department of Justice (DOJ) from pursuing syndicated estafa charges against Lee, the owner of Globe Asiatique Realty Corp., his son Dexter and three others.
“I can tell as a lawyer that definitely he will be punished. But when that would happen, I don’t know,” Binay, a lawyer by profession, said.
“Ask any lawyer around and they will tell you that what the judge did was abominable,”
The complaint against Lee stemmed from the alleged anomalous P6.65-billion loans that Pag-Ibig granted to “ghost borrowers” who supposedly had bought units in Globe Asiatique’s housing project in Pampanga.
“I have nothing to ask him (Mislang). He seemed to be incorrigible,” Binay said, recounting an incident when the same judge ordered the entire board of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) jailed.
Mislang had issued a warrant for indirect contempt claiming the GSIS board had violated a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the land settlement case between the GSIS and Rosario Santiago, an 82-year-old widow.
But the Court of Appeals stopped the arrest.
“Grabe itong judge na ito. (This judge is terrible)” said Binay, who also heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The Home Development Mutual Fund, better known as Pag-Ibig Fund, has filed an administrative complaint against Mislang for “gross ignorance of the law, grave misconduct, and knowingly rendering an unjust order.”
Mislang was also asked to inhibit himself from the case.
Binay reiterated the DOJ’s claim that the judge issued a decision without reading first the resolution issued by the justice department.
Mislang has refused to grant media requests for interview and has “begged” Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez “to take the cudgels for him” and other judges allegedly vilified in public for their decisions.
“The undersigned earnestly begs Your Honor’s Office to take the cudgels for him and all members of the judiciary similarly situated, if only so that we may be spared of the unnecessary and uncalled for anxiety not only upon our persons but, more importantly, upon our families who, at times, cannot quite understand the perceived silence of our superiors,” Mislang said in a five-page letter to Marquez dated September 9.
Mislang’s letter was in compliance to Marquez’s order for him to explain the basis for his issuance of a TRO and writ of preliminary injunction that prevented the DOJ from filing the estafa case against Lee, his son Dexter, and three others.
As Court Administrator, Marquez has jurisdiction over judges of municipal and re-gional trial courts, and associate justices of the Court of Appeals.
Marquez said Mislang’s explanation is now being evaluated.
“As much as I would like to take the cudgels for all our judges, I won’t be able to do so at this issue because I will also have to give my recommendation (to the Supreme Court),” Marquez told a press briefing.
In his explanation, Mislang said he “did not act with undue haste, much less with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the TROs but acted in good faith and in accordance with his solemn duty to dispose of matters pending before him with reasonable promptness. ”
Mislang said it was an honest error of judgment if he erred, to which the remedy of appeal is available to the dissatisfied litigant.
Mislang said he issued the TRO, and ultimately, an injunction, in Lee’s favor “on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question.”
But Marquez said that whether or not there was indeed a prejudicial question has to be determined.