CA justices: SC backing of TRO on Junjun suspension belies Trillanes bribe raps
THE Supreme Court’s decision affirming a Court of Appeals’ ruling that stopped the implementation of the first suspension order against former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay in effect vindicated the appeals court’s justices accused of bribery.
CA Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr., told members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that aside from lack of evidence on the allegations of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, their ultimate vindication happened when the SC upheld their TRO and WPI in a decision last November 2015.
Members of the CA’s 6th division where Reyes is a member have been accused of receiving P50-million bribe (P25-million each) to rule in favor of Binay.
“With the decision of SC last November 10, we all felt in the division we were effectively vindicated because no less than Supreme Court said… quite empathically… the WPI we issued was correct,” Reyes said.
Reyes was the author of the decision that stopped Binay’s preventive suspension stemming from charges of alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
The appeals court Ethics Committee already conducted an investigation on Trillanes’ allegation but no complaints have been submitted as well as evidence to support the bribery allegation.
“So for now, there is really no case, probably no case, probably there is really no evidence, so that’s why,” Reyes stressed.
“For now, as I said, I continue to keep still and continue to pray… [But] I am at peace,” he added emphasizing that he was even able to secure certifications from the National Bureau of Investigation, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police to prove he is of good standing with no criminal record or pending cases.
The magistrate admitted getting hurt by Trillanes’ accusations, but said he has remained steadfast amid the controversy.
“It was of course a serious and unfounded allegations. It hurt me but I kept still. My conscience is clear. Our actuations were based on existing jurisprudence,” said Reyes, referring to the condonation doctrine, which clears a public official of administrative liability upon re-election.
The doctrine has since been struck down, albeit prospectively, by the Supreme Court in the same November 2015 ruling on the Binay issue.
In its ruling, the high court said the appellate court’s reliance on the cases invoking the condonation doctrine did not constitute grave abuse of discretion.
“By merely following settled precedents on the condonation doctrine, which at that time, unwittingly remained ‘good law,’ it cannot be concluded that the CA committed a grave abuse of discretion based on its legal attribution above. Accordingly, the writ of preliminary injunction against the Ombudsman’s preventive suspension order was correctly issued,” the high court said.
After the appeals court issued the restraining order against Binay’s suspension, Trillanes called for an investigation on the alleged “justice for sale” system at the Court of Appeals.
He said a “reliable source” told him that aside from Justice Reyes, Associate Justice Francisco Acosta received a bribe money, P25-million each.
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