De Lima sued for maligning CA
MANILA, Philippines—The lawyers of embattled former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes have asked the Court of Appeals to cite Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for indirect contempt following her public pronouncements accusing the appellate tribunal of partiality.
The case stemmed from De Lima’s reaction to an unfavorable judgment against her in the petition filed by embattled former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes.
In a 12-page petition, a copy of which was sent to reporters over the weekend, lawyers Demetrio C. Custodio Jr. and Love Joy Cecilia Brillantes said De Lima maligned their client “by baselessly accusing him of employing foul tactics and illicit means” in order to obtain the appeals court decision.
“In so doing, however, Respondent (De Lima) also smeared the reputation of the Honorable Court by insinuating that it could be influenced to decide a case in one way or another by a party’s ‘foul tactics and illicit means,’” the petition said.
The petition said De Lima “may disagree with the Honorable Court’s decision of March 19, 2013 and validly appeal the same or file a motion for reconsideration.”
“That is the right of the losing party under the law. But casting baseless aspersions on the dignity of the Honorable Court is certainly not an available remedy to Respondent. She has no right to attempt to degrade the court, destroy public confidence in it, and encourage the people to disregard and set naught its orders, judgments and decrees,” the petitioners added.
Reyes along with his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, had accused the DOJ of railroading the case to implicate them in the murder of broadcaster Dr. Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega.
The Reyes brothers filed separate petitions with the appeals court citing grave abuse on the part of De Lima in issuing Department Order No. 710 which put up a second prosecution panel to supersede the findings of the first prosecution panel.
The second panel of prosecution composed of Assistant State Prosecutors Stewart Allan A. Mariano, Vilmar M. Barcellano, and Gerard Gaerlan, who reinvestigated the case, recommended the filing of murder case against the two which paved the way for the Palawan Court to order their arrest.
A ruling by the appeals court granted Reyes’ petition last March 19, ruling that de Lima gravely abused her discretion in issuing Department Order No. 710 and creating the second panel of prosecutors to reinvestigate.
Moreover, the Court held the second panel of prosecutors exceeded its authority when it reversed the resolutions of its co-equal first panel
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