2 SC aspirants slam Alvarez over threat to abolish CA
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez should know the limits of his powers, a Court of Appeals associate justice said Monday in reaction to his threats of abolishing the appeals court.
Alvarez has threatened to abolish the Court of Appeals after it ordered the release of six employees of the Ilocos Norte government detained by Congress almost two weeks ago after they were cited in contempt of court.
The six Ilocos Norte employees were detained after repeatedly telling the House panel chaired by Surigao Del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel that they could not recall receiving millions in cash advances or authorizing the release of funds for the purchase of various vehicles.
Alvarez refused to honor the appeals court’s order undermining his authority and reminded that the appeals court is a mere creation of Congress.
“He [Alvarez] is very emotional. He must know the limits of his power,” Appeals Court Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang said during her interview with members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). Carandang is one of the aspirants for the position that will be vacated by Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes next month.
During her interview, the JBC members asked about her reaction to Alvarez’ threat to abolish CA.
“It will not be easy to abolish the Court of Appeals…He should respect the Court of Appeals,” Carandang said.
Like Carandang, fellow candidate, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, pointed out the constitutional prohibition against the abolition of the Court of Appeals.
He pointed out that Article VIII Section 2 provides among others that “no law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members.”
On the other hand, another candidate, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Stephen Cruz, said he welcomes the move of the House of Representatives to have him and two other justices disbarred for granting the privilege of the writ of habeas to the Ilocos Norte employees.
Alvarez called Cruz as well as Associate Justices Edwin Sorongon and Nina Antonino-Valenzuela, both members of the Court of Appeals Fourth Division, as “gago” (idiots) for granting the writ of habeas corpus.
“I will welcome the disbarment complaint so that the truth will come out,” Cruz said.
“What we did was our duty…If we falter because of some threats, that would show our weakness as magistrates. And as I have said a while ago, let justice be done though the heavens fall. If we are wrong, they could always go up to the Supreme Court,” Cruz added.
Cruz explained that they issued the writ “to determine really if the detention was legal.”
“We want the bodies to be presented to the court and the person who is detaining them, and determine whether it is legal. Because if it is legal, we will dismiss the petition,” he said.
As for the release order, he replied: “That was pursuant to a case, Enrile vs Salazar wherein persons subject of writ of habeas corpus, while the merits are being determined can be released on bail.”/rga
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