Justice seeking SC seat denies taking bribe
A COURT of Appeals (CA) justice has denied Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s claim that he and another magistrate received a P50-million bribe to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Ombudsman’s suspension of Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay in March last year.
Justice Jose Reyes Jr. said he and the other members of the court’s Sixth Division, which issued the TRO, had been vindicated by the lack of evidence in the alleged bribery.
He said their ultimate vindication was the Supreme Court’s upholding in November of the TRO and the subsequent writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) they issued.
“With the decision of the Supreme Court last Nov. 10, we all felt in the division [that] we were effectively vindicated because no less than the Supreme Court said—quite emphatically—that the WPI we issued was correct,” Reyes said last Friday during his public interview by the Judicial and Bar Council on his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reyes wrote the CA ruling blocking Binay’s preventive suspension, which resulted from the Ombudsman’s filing of charges of alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
The CA earlier called for an ethics probe into Trillanes’ bribery allegations but Reyes said no complaints had come out of it, nor was the magistrate ever required to formally comment on it.
To prove he had clean record, Reyes said he secured certifications from the National Bureau of Investigation, Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Philippine National Police attesting to this.
“It was of course a serious and unfounded allegation. 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 reelection.
The doctrine was struck down by the Supreme Court in the same November 2015 ruling on the Binay issue. “By merely following settled precedents, the high court said the appeals tribunal did not commit grave abuse of discretion,” he said.
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