Davao courts asks exec why she should not be cited for contempt

Davao court asks Mindanao exec to show why she should not be cited for contempt

/ 05:01 PM June 06, 2024

Davao court asks Acosta, lawyer to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt

LEO TERESO MAGNO (LEFT) AND MARIA BELEN ACOSTA. INQUIRER PHOTO/GERMELINA LACORTE

DAVAO CITY — A Davao court has ordered former Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Maria Belen Acosta and her lawyer Israelito Torreon to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt after Acosta posted on her social media account an official statement saying that the quo warranto case earlier dismissed by the court had been reversed, and that her motion for reconsideration had been granted.

Acosta, an appointee of former President Duterte, had earlier filed the quo warranto petition questioning the appointment of new MinDA Secretary Leo Tereso Magno, an appointee of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., while she was still serving her term of office.

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Judge Mario C. Duaves, the presiding judge of Branch 15 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) 11th Judicial Region, however, dismissed Acosta’s petition, saying that it was an improper remedy because it was not anchored on Magno’s qualification but was more of a challenge to “an act of the President, who is immune from suit.”

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On Monday, June 3, or a week after the court’s decision, Acosta posted an “official statement” on her Facebook page, saying the court had reversed its earlier decision and had granted her motion for reconsideration.

“This is the curious case of MinDA having two appointed Secretaries for one and the same position,” said Acosta in the statement. She reiterated her earlier position that the post was “not vacant,” that it was not coterminous, neither was her post as chair of MinDA a “position of trust” since its mandate sprung from Republic Act 9996, or the act creating the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), which specifically provided a six-year term for its chair, unless removed for a cause.

“Yet, another person was appointed with no prior formal notification from Malacañang. Due process was not followed and no clear ’cause’ was established,” Acosta said in the statement.

In his June 4 order, Judge Duaves said Acosta’s “official statement” contained incorrect facts that “corrupted the true nature and substance of the court-issued orders and processes.”

“In so doing, you have caused unnecessary confusion to the public amounting to improper conduct tending to degrade the administration of justice and judicial processes of this court,” Duaves said.

He directed Acosta and her lawyer to submit within 10 days their written explanation under oath and to show cause “why you will not be cited in contempt.”

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The court also ordered Acosta to take down “such pretentious official statement” from her social media account and other online platforms and cause the statement to be removed in all media outlets. But as of Wednesday, June 5, Acosta has not taken her official statement yet.

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TAGS: Acosta, Davao, Mindanao

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