Escudero: SC justices’ inhibition from cases must be ‘voluntary’
The inhibition of two associate justices of the Supreme Court being linked to presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from cases involving him or his rivals in the 2016 elections should be a voluntary act since no higher court cannot compel them anyway, Senator Francis Escudero said on Thursday.
Although he refused to comment on the reported attempts by Associate Justices Jose Catral Mendoza and Bienvenido Reyes to convince another presidential aspirant Roy Señeres to withdraw from the race, Escudero said that at the end of the day, the magistrates are also voters like the President.
The senator said the justices’ reported link to Duterte might only become an issue if there are cases involving the mayor that would be brought to the Supreme Court.
However, if a case would benefit Duterte, Escudero said it would be up to the lawyers involved in the case whether or not to seek the inhibition of the concerned justices.
“Pag-aaralan yan ng abugado kung hihilingin yan. Pero para sa akin, ang inhibition lalo na ng mahistrado ng korte ay maselang bagay dahil walang mas mataas na korte na pwedeng pumwersa sa kanila na mag inhibit. So at the end of the day, ang pag inhibit o hindi pag inhibit ng mahistrado ay voluntary sa parte nila,” he pointed out.
(The lawyer will study on that if it will be requested. However, for me, the inhibition especially that of the magistrates of the court is a sensitive issue because there is no higher court that can force them to inhibit. So at the end of the day, whether the magistrate inhibits or not is voluntary on his part.)
Escudero explained that unlike in the Supreme Court, a request for inhibition of an ordinary judge could be brought to either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.
“Ngunit sa parte ng mga mahistrado ng Korte Suprema, it’s purely voluntary on their part kaya pansin nyo kanina pa nagiging sobra at masyado akong maingat tungkol dun,” he said.
(However, on the part of the magistrates of the Supreme Court, it’s purely voluntary on their part that’s why if you notice, I have been really careful about that.)
Escudero, running mate of Senator Grace Poe in the 2016 elections, also pointed out that when the Senate Electoral Tribunal was hearing a petition seeking to unseat Poe in the Senate, they did not question the participation of one of its members, Senator Nancy Binay, who voted in favor of the petition.
He said, however, they expected that Binay would do the right thing because the latter is the daughter of Poe’s rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Hindi nga lang nya ginawa ang sa pananaw naming tama at dapat,” Escudero added.
(However, she did not do what we thought was right and appropriate.) RAM
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