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IBP head warns Senate on pushing through with ‘justice for sale’ probe

07:00 PM April 20, 2015

THE Senate would be acting as it is above the law if the chamber would push through with its investigation on the alleged “justice for sale,” the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), a constitutionally mandated lawyers organization said Monday.

IBP National President Vicente Joyas said the Senate investigation on the allegation of corruption in the judiciary is not part of the check and balance provision of the Constitution.

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“The plan of the Senate to push through with the investigation is a circumvention of the Constitution. In the first place, what is the purpose of the investigation,” Joyas told reporters.

Joyas made the statement when sought for comment on the pronouncement of Senator Franklin Drilon that the judiciary is not exempted from a Senate inquiry though he said the magistrates of the Supreme Court or any other court could not be compelled to appear out of interdepartmental courtesies.

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The Senate, in pushing through with the investigation, said no one is above the law.

But Joyas said “it was the Senate who is the one appearing to be above the law because they are violating the Constitution.”

“Under the law, it is the Supreme Court that should investigate the judges and justices allegedly involved in corruption and that is part of the separation of power,” Joyas explained.

“In the same way that the Supreme Court cannot investigate members of Congress for misbehavior,” he said adding that “they cannot insist that they do the investigation under the guise of the check and balance provision of the Constitution.”

Joyas explained that check and balance is about the power of the President over legislation, the power of the Senate to remove justices by impeachment. The Supreme Court exercises check and balance by reviewing the actuation of the other branches of the government if there is grave abuse of discretion.

“Investigation in aid of legislation on alleged corruption of judges and justices is not one of those defined in the check and balance provision,” he said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV initiated the investigation on the alleged “justice for sale” when he accused Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Jose Reyes Jr. of receiving a total of P50 million from the camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay allegedly in return for issuing the temporary restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction that stopped the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government from enforcing his six-month suspension in connection with the allegedly anomalous construction of the Makati Parking Building II.

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Joyas earlier called on Trillanes to appear before the IBP, shed his parliamentary immunity, reiterate his allegation and provide evidence on his allegation.

He said it would be unfair for the justices because Trillanes made the allegation citing “reliable sources” before the Senate where he is covered with parliamentary immunity.

Joyas, however, said Trillanes turned down their request.

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TAGS: Court of Appeals, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), justice for sale, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
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