Request to transfer Maute cases should have been raffled – De Castro
The supposed “take over” of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on the request to transfer the cases filed against the Maute terrorist group outside Mindanao was “highly irregular.”
“She should know that the Chief Justice can’t just take over a case without it being raffled,” Justice Teresita de Castro said on Monday before the House justice committee hearing on the impeachment case filed against Sereno.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier requested to transfer the cases against the Maute group members outside of Mindanao. The request for the transfer was not raffled off to any member of the 15 magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) and Sereno supposedly merely assigned the petition to herself.
“She should’ve submitted that matter to the Raffle Committee so that it can be included on the raffle of cases on June 5. There was ample time for her to do that. There’s nothing in the rules that’s allowing her to designate herself as member in charge… Since the letter (from Aguirre) was sent to her on May 29, there was time for her to refer this case to the Raffle Committee, which meets every Monday (at) 2 p.m., but she didn’t do that,” De Castro said.
Sereno was “not following the rules and special procedures in the court”, De Castro also said.
But counsels of Sereno refuted the claims of De Castro. They explained that De Castro was the acting chair of the Raffle Committee on June 19, when the request for the transfer of the Maute cases outside Mindanao was raffled.
“Justice De Castro also countersigned the raffle sheet on the same date and did not pose any objection. Neither did the two other members of the Raffle Committee posed any objection,” the counsels said in a statement. /kga
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