New panel created to probe ‘Justice for Sale’ at CA
AFTER most of the members of the Court of Appeals Ethics Committee inhibited themselves from investigating the allegations of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that two of its justices accepted P50 million in bribes to stop the six-month suspension of Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, it has created another committee to do the probe.
In a one-page letter dated May 14 signed by Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., the committee is composed of Associate Justice Sesinando E. Villon and the members include Associate Justices Franchito N. Diamante, Manuel M. Barrios, Carmelita Salandanan Manahan and Ma. Luisa Quijano Padilla.
“In view of the inhibition of Associate Justice Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo and other Justices of the Committee on Ethics and Special Concerns to undertake the investigation…a Committee is hereby created and directed to conduct a thorough investigation of the enclosed Senate Resolution No. 1265,” Officer Order No. 190-15-ABR signed by Presiding Justice Reyes said.
The committee was given 30 days to come up with a recommendation.
Senate Resolution No. 1265 authored by Trillanes asked its justice committee to investigate “in aid of legislation the alleged system of ‘Justice for Sale’ at the Court of Appeals and elsewhere, and other related anomalies in the Judiciary.” He mentioned of the bribe allegedly received by the justices handling the case of Mayor Binay.
Punzalan-Castillo inhibited because Dra. Elenita Binay, wife of the Vice President, was a sponsor in the wedding of her child. Another member of the Ethics Committee, Jane Aurora Lantion, was a co-sponsor in the same wedding.
On the other hand, Associate Justice Francisco Acosta, another member of the Ethics Committee, also inhibited because he is a member of the 6th division being accused by Trillanes of receiving the bribe.
Only Justices Diamante and Barrios remain as the original members of the Ethics Committee.
Aside from Acosta, other members of the 6th division that stopped the implementation of the six months suspension of Mayor Binay include Associate Justices Jose Reyes and Peralta. AC
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