Appeals court stops Manila tribunal in extradition case
The Court of Appeals has stopped the Manila Regional Trial Court from compelling the Department of Justice (DOJ) to present proof that the government has a valid extradition treaty with the United States.
In a four-page resolution, the appeals court’s 12th Division through Associate Justice Manuel Barrios said the temporary restraining order against the order of Manila RTC Branch 1 Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag will be effective for 60 days.
Alisuag’s had directed the DOJ through Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III to bring a certified true copy of the ratified instruments, if they existed.
The judge’s order was issued in connection with the extradition case that the US government filed through the DOJ against Dr. Eric Uy Chan, a Filipino doctor who was accused of defrauding a California health care program of more than $3 million.
Chan was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in 2012 after he fled the US to evade arrest and prosecution for cases that included grand theft pending before the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The DOJ argued that Alisuag’s order allowed Chan’s camp to launch a collateral attack on the extradition treaty following its manifestation that he would present proof that there was no valid extradition treaty between the Philippines and US.
The DOJ pointed out that the extradition treaty was considered a law which could not be collaterally attacked.
Meanwhile, the appeals court said there was a need to study the merits of the case.
It noted that extradition proceedings were summary in nature, and that most of the issues related to the case might be tackled separately from the petition before it.
“Hence, it is imperative that the implementation of the assailed subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum dated February 2, 2015 be temporarily held in abeyance so as not to render moot the issues attendant in the present petition for certiorari,” the appeals court said.
It also ordered Chan to submit a memorandum within 20 days and justify why the restraining order should not be made permanent.
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ramon Bato, Jr. and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy.
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