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SC en banc special session during holiday break possible, says spokesman

/ 11:44 PM December 04, 2015

The Supreme Court can hold an en banc (full court) “special session” even during the holiday break depending on the assessment of the justices on what are emergency and urgent petitions.

“As far as emergency or urgent petitions are concerned depende yan kung may ipa-file, then it can be considered. I mean the court has held special sessions before so that’s not a problem,” Theodore Te, high court spokesman, told reporters Friday.

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Earlier, Senate President Franklin Drilon suggested the Supreme Court should consider cancelling their Christmas break to decide on the disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe.

READ: Drilon wants no Christmas break for SC to resolve Poe case

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Last Monday, the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) dismissed the disqualification case against Poe.

Then, last Tuesday, the Commission on Election 2nd division disqualified Poe from running for the presidency in next year’s election.

READ: Comelec disqualifies Grace Poe

The 15 justices of the Supreme Court will take their holiday recess after their last en banc session on Dec. 8.

But Te said the justices can still decide among themselves if they want to convene upon the request of the Chief Justice or a justice.

“They can actually say, ‘Let’s talk about this on a special session,'” Te added.

Te added that the justices make their own assessment if a petition needed to be acted on in a special session or if it can wait until the en banc sessions resume next year.

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Under the internal rules, Te explained: “If the court is on what it calls a recess meaning there are no en banc sessions and if there are urgent actions that require immediate relief on the recommendation of the member in-charge – whoever is the member in charge – then the chief justice can actually issue the writ. Let’s say it’s a TRO (temporary restraining order) or an SQA (status quo ante).”

But he said the TRO or SQA is still subject of confirmation by the en banc on its next session.

“Limited lang naman din yun [TROand SQA]. In terms of decisions hindi pwede kasi the decisions of the court are made collegially,” he added. TVJ

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TAGS: Christmas holidays, Elections 2016, en banc, Full Court, Grace Poe, special session, Theodore Te
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