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SC employees under pressure?

By NEWSBREAK

MANILA, Philippines – At least 3 employees of the Supreme Court are being pressured to into issuing a certification claiming that they distributed copies of the petition filed by Ombudman Merceditas Gutierrez to the justices before the En Banc session started on September 14, 2010.

Newsbreak learned from SC insiders that one of the concerned employees already declined to issue the certification. Pressure is now being put upon the two others—one a delivery clerk, the other the utility person who prepares the coffee during the En Banc sessions.

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Delivery receipt showing dates individual justices received copies of the petition filed by Ombudsman Gutierrez. Her petition (G.R. No. 193459) is at the top of the list. [Click image to enlarge

The Gutierrez petition, filed on September 13, 2010, prompted the high court to issue a status quo ante order that effectively suspended proceedings in the House Committee on Justice on two impeachment cases filed against Gutierrez for five months.

The court is currently under fire after Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, , said he only received his copy of the petition in the afternoon, after the En Banc. (See: SC justices reveal haste in Ombudsman vote).

Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, in her separate concurring opinion to the Feb. 15 ruling said the status quo ante order was issued “over the objections of Justices Antonio Carpio, Conchita Carpio Morales, and myself.”

She said, “I believed then, as I believe now, that the Court, in issuing the said order, was overly intrusive with respect to a power that does not belong to it by restraining without hearing a co-equal branch of Government.”

This belief, she said, “was made more acute by the fact that the order was voted upon in the morning of 14 September 2010, without the benefit of a genuinely informed debate, since several members of the Court, myself included, had not yet then received a copy of the Petition.”

This issue has prompted Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo C. Fariñas to say that the Justices “violated public trust” in a privilege speech on the issue.  Fariñas said he would initiate an impeachment complaint on the justices found to have voted to issue the order before receiving a copy of the Gutierrez petition.

Newsbreak earlier published the delivery receipt which showed that three of the 8 justices who voted to issue the status quo ante order—Justices Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez and Presbitero Velasco Jr.—received their copies of the Gutierrez petition on September 15, 2010 or a day after the en banc meeting.

Supreme Court spokesperson Midas Marquez earlier said in a radio interview that copies of the petition were distributed to the justices when they were in the conference room assembled for their weekly en banc meeting, after which the petition was deliberated upon.

Editor’s note:  Justice Sereno’s statements were added to this story on March 4, 2011

CATEGORY: Inside Track, Institutions, Justice System, The Judiciary
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  1. Rvl Gimenez says:

    By such pressure, they could be getting more rope to hang themselves.

  2. Johnny Lin says:

    the crime then is ” obstruction by justices” not ” obstruction of justice”. What nincompoops!

  3. Jillian Paul says:

    Even the spooks… er, spokesman is into the coverup, huh?

  4. Rvl Gimenez says:

    Good one, Johnny! :-)

  5. documents will not lie!

  6. You’re right Jillian. Court Administrator Marquez has been reprimanded several times by the justices for expounding on rulings when he is not supposed to do so. For example: when the justices voted to dismiss the petition of Ombudsman Gutierrez, the status quo ante order was also lifted. This means that the House of Representatives is freed from any legal restraint to proceed with the impeachment proceedings. Although under the Rules of Court, Gutierrez still has 15 days within which to file a Motion for Reconsideration on the ruling of the SC, absent any pronouncement from the Court restraining the House from proceeding with the impeachment process, the House can proceed. What Court Ad Marquez did was to say (although unauthorized and unwarranted) that the House should wait for the resolution of Gutierrez’s MR. He is not the SC but just its spokesperson so he should not utter things that are clearly beyond the scope of the resolution. But again, Marquez do not say things with the Chief Justice’s consent and by saying those things, he was not reprimanded. Ergo….you can imply who authorized him to do so just to mislead the public. And now, this mess.

  7. steve salonga says:

    A tempest in a teapot! the SC is the final arbiter of what is legally right and wrong. It is right when it decides — it doesn’t matter that they did not need to read the pleadings to do so. It is right simply because it says so. That is the power of a court of last resort.

  8. Johnny Lin says:

    Likewise, 100% of dreams naturally come true to daydream believers! Planks believe it.

  9. so your saying even if the supreme court does not read your petition or complaint, as the case maybe, it is right just to vote on it even not knowing what they are voting for?

  10. EJ Flores says:

    What does this say to us? We expected this kind of leadership from the character of SJ Corona. ‘Quo vadis’ Supreme Court. How much time must Filipinos suffer injustice against you. Very clearly you are out not to uphold justice but to protect and serve someone. As for Marques, shame on you for being part of the cover up. Where is the media? Why can’t media dig deeper into this and the expose’ of Lauro Visconde? ABS CBN more interested in the expose glass house in QC. May pino proteksionan? May kinikilingan?

  11. Johnny Lin says:

    RJ
    Are you asking me or Steve? Steve theory remains incredulous like daydreamers belief. All jurists know it is wrong handing decisions or vote without reading the pleadings. Justice Sereno’s dissent elaborated that aspect. Congressman Farinas is right initiating an inquiry exposing their egregious error, otherwise these justices would continue violating their constitutional duties. Newsbreak performed a patriotic act publishing the receipts of the documents for general information. We the people should participate by shaming the guilty justices! Our public discussion is good starting point. Bloggers and tweeters could do better!

  12. juan de la cruz says:

    a judge or justice who hands down or approves or signs in a decision or order or resolution, no matter how small the issue is, WITHOUT READING THE PLEADINGS, is wrong morally and legally…and may amount to a betrayal of public trust…

  13. Johnny Lin says:

    What do Pnoy and CJ Corona have in common? They are both SHOOTERS! PNoy is a Sharp Shooter using gun for target practice while CORONA is a CRAP Shooter using DICE for Supreme Court decisions!

  14. steve

  15. Norberto M. Boceta says:

    What could the Filipinos expect from Corona and other justices of the SC? What else but dishing out decisiosn to protect the lady who appointed them. This guy Corona and the seven other justices should really be impeached. Can you imagine rendering a decisions even before perusing the pleading of M. Gutierrez!
    It is good that Justices Carpio, Carpio-Morales and Sereno are there! Otherwise, lutong-luto talaga ang hustisya nang mga kampon ni Arroyo sa pangunguna ni Corona. Nakakahiya ka, Corona!
    You are a disgrace to the Filipino race!

    Congressman Farinas is right. The chief justice and the 7 other justices should be impeached.

  16. Kasi naman! What’s with Merceditas? Why do you have to save her? Is she worth losing your credibility for? My goodness, if this is not the handiwork of the evil little moled creature from the black lagoon and her ogre gentleman, I do not know what this is!

  17. Pepe at Pilar says:

    Pepe: Ano ang tawag sa mga naghusga nang hindi inalam ang kaso?
    Pilar: Hmmm… justices of the Supreme Court?
    Pepe: Hinde!
    Pilar Eh, ano…?
    Pepe: Mga manghuhula sa perya!

  18. “it doesn’t matter that they did not need to read the pleadings to do so”

    This is stupidity at its best.
    Your reasoning do not make sense at all. Supreme Court is the highest lay of the land. They have to set standards in handling cases that involves livelihoods.
    Judging by your comments tells me you have no regards of right and wrong. Members of the Supreme Court issuing judgement without reading the case is a blatant violation of the code they were sworn by, and that is to serve the people.

  19. jose miguel ramirez says:

    i agree with you steve. the published internal rules of the supreme court itself provides that even the chief justice alone could have issued the SQA even without the participation and definitely over the objections of a noisy minority. what concerns me though are the fuzz saj carpio and j sereno are brewing more than six months later (after the main decision came out). j sereno obviously knows nothing of the rules and appear to enjoy flaunting her disregard thereof) being mere months on the job but saj carpio knows this more than anybody else on the court. what are they up to? let us all be vigilant! (and not merely rely on ms. vitug who can hardly be relied on to be objective when it comes to saj carpio!)

  20. jose miguel ramirez says:

    i have reviewed all news reports about the matter (yes, including those other than what ms. vitug has written about the matter), it seems to me that only saj carpio and j sereno ADMITTED TO HAVE VOTED WITHOUT READING the petition.

    should they be impeached because of it? i don’t think so. with more reason those who READ the petition or at least part thereof and who VOTED on the prayer for a TRO shouldn’t be impeached.

  21. fernando torres says:

    how i hope that marquez won’t follow in the footsteps of previous court administrators who were appointed SC justices. considering his age, he can kill a lot of time til he’s appointed.

  22. fernando torres says:

    sir, why don’t you google “lourdes sereno” and read about her accomplishments before you insult her. seriously why dont you? if you will recall, even noynoy commented that he appointed her due to her “awe-inspiring” resume. obviously, someone with such intelligence will not need six months to study the internal rules of the supreme court. im sure if you ask any law student they will tell you that you only need a few hours, if not minutes, to study these rules.

    let’s be vigilant? hahahahaha. that was exactly what sereno and carpio were doing. but maybe it just didnt suit your ends.

  23. Eric Joven says:

    What news were you reading.

    Facts: records of the Supreme Court itself would reveal that the Petition filed by Merci was only distributed and received by all of the SC Justices in the afternoon of the September 14, 2010.

    The En Banc deliberated the Status Quo Order in the morning of September 14, 2010. What logical conclusion then you can derive from these facts?

    I would respect you if you have a different opinion. Just be sure that when you do, you have something to hold on ot it, instead of insinuating things against these justices.

    And yes, for the records, the receipt of the notices, to this date, remains uncontroverted.

  24. How Will you expect us to believe our justices when they themselves try to cover up the truth….truth will always set you free…JUSTIIS BE THRUTHFULL AND FREE OF CONTROL FROM OUTSIDE.
    To justiis branch that is so corrupt, now is the time to change the system….I know your all elitist, won’t share control and power to the people. You want the court to be for lawyers only club.
    It is time to be democratic, let the lower court be be by trial by jury…”JUSTICE IS PRICELESS”. this will lessen the responsibility of the judge, judicial administrator. By jury the court becomes democratic, pluralistic, moralist, logical and unamimous.
    ALL DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ARE BY JURY in the lower court.
    Abolish “motion for reconsideration” in the supreme court, Also let complains be tried by the lower court, appeal and last SC, weather constitutianal issue. LET THE STAGES OF PROCESS WORK.
    Good luck to the SC and Country

  25. Rhea A. says:

    UNITED BF HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION
    UBFHAI Clubhouse
    No. 37 Pilar Banzon St. BF Homes Parañaque

    August 4, 2009

    THE HONORABLE REYNATO S. PUNO
    CHIEF JUSTICE
    SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES
    Padre Faura, Manila

    THRU: THE HONORABLE JOSE PEREZ
    Court Administrator

    Dear CHIEF JUSTICE PUNO:

    It is with profound hope and anticipation that we, the undersigned representatives of 12,000 households in BF Homes Subdivision in Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa present to the Honorable Chief Justice for action our complaint against a member of the judiciary, Judge Raul Bautista Villanueva of the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas Branch 274 for gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of discretion and utterly oppressive conduct.
    Some quarters have warned us that Judge Villanueva happens to be a fraternity brother of the Honorable Chief Justice but this has not deterred us because we believe in the integrity, probity and the reputation for justice and fairness of the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We have read about the serious efforts of the Chief Justice to reform the judiciary and it is in this vein that we are confident that we will be afforded justice.

    1. Our complaint against Judge Raul Villanueva is anchored on the preliminary injunction he issued against a government infrastructure project being undertaken by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Corporation which effectively tied the hands of MWSS from providing water service to the BF Homes community. After issuing an injunction against MWSS, on motion by the developer, BF Homes Inc. and its water service company, Philippine Waterworks and Construction Corporation (PWCC), Judge Villanueva also restrained and extended the effect of the injunction to the Maynilad Water Services Corporation and certain private contractors to stop all these agencies and companies from providing water to the 12,000 households of BF Homes Subdivision.
    MWSS was specifically ordered by no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, by virtue of Executive Order 688 which she issued on 22 February 2007 to provide water service to the long-suffering residents of BF Homes who have been deprived of their basic right to water by the developer, BF Homes, Inc and its water service company, PWCC for more than twenty (20) years now.
    The president’s Executive Order was anchored on Presidential Decree no. 1345 entitled Empowering the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) To Take Over the Centralized Water Supply Systems in Residential Subdivisions Within Its Territorial Jurisdiction.

    2. In issuing a preliminary injunction against MWSS, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and all agents acting on their behalf, Judge Villanueva effectively extended for an indefinite period of time the suffering of the thousands of residents of BF Homes who have been waterless for decades. In his Order dated July 3, 2009 which is hereto attached as Annex “A”, Judge Raul B. Villanueva committed extreme injustice to the residents because he favored a non-existent private interest over public interest.

    3. Judge Villanueva ruled in favour of the private, and no longer existing, interest of BF Homes Inc. and PWCC by saying that to allow MWSS to provide water service to the BF Homes community would be tantamount to taking of private property without just compensation. MWSS was restrained in an earlier injunction from taking over the central water reticulation and distribution system of the developer, thus it failed to provide water to the residents. Desperate, the homeowners themselves contracted with Maynilad, a private entity in the business of providing water for the provision of their water needs. The residents themselves paid for the cost of digging and pipe-laying because they knew they could no longer depend on MWSS for their water but again, on July 3, 2009, the Court issued an order including Maynilad in the preliminary injunction it earlier issued against MWSS.

    4. The court said that “taking without compensation” should not only be construed in the physical sense but includes likewise the taking of the business from BF Homes inc. and PWCC to provide water service to the BF Homes community.
    But the truth, Mr. Chief Justice is, BF Homes Inc. and PWCC no longer have any water service business to speak of since 2003.

    5. To stress, BF Homes, Inc., the developer of BF Homes Subdivision and PWCC, have reneged on their obligation to provide water to the homeowners for more than twenty (20) years now.

    6. Because of this inability and failure by PWCC to provide water to the BF Homes residents, the National Water Resources Board did not renew PWCC’s Certificate of Public Convenience to provide water.

    7. In its decision denying the issuance of a certificate of public convenience to PWCC the Water Resources Board said :
    “Verily, it appears that applicant does not have a viable source of sufficient water to provide water supply service to its intended customers. Without a viable water source, either from independent groundwater or surface water sources or from other public water supply utilities under a bulk sale arrangement, applicant failed to prove that it is technically capable of providing the public utility services applied for. On this basis alone, the Board is constrained not to act favourably on the application.

    The Board notes that the applicant’s (PWCC’s) CPC expired on October 24, 2003 and that the applicant had been operating with an expired CPC for almost three years before it filed the instant application on June 20, 2006.

    Premises considered the application is denied.”

    Attached hereto as Annex “B” is a copy of the Decision of National Water Resources Board dated December 17, 2008.

    8. Despite a Motion for Reconsideration by PWCC, the National Water Resources Board denied with finality its application for renewal of the certificate of public convenience to provide water in BF Homes. Attached hereto as Annex “C” the Resolution by NWRB of the motion for reconsideration of BF Homes Inc. and PWCC.

    9. Incredibly, the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas presided by Judge Raul B. Villanueva, stated that “Also, the Court considers as of no moment the supposed denial by the National Water Resources Board of the application of the petitioner BF Homes for a certificate of public convenience to operate and maintain a waterworks system within BF Homes Subdivision, Barangay BF, Paranaque City. After all, what is vital to the herein case is the constitutionality or not of PD No. 1345 and EO No. 688, nothing more, nothing less.”

    10. The Honorable Judge conveniently considered as “of no moment” a very vital piece of information and evidence which would have clearly shown that BF Homes Inc. and PWCC do not have an existing right that stands to be irreparably injured unless a preliminary injunction is issued. The fact that BF Homes Inc. and PWCC no longer have a franchise to provide water service to the residents of BF Homes shows only too clearly that they are not entitled to the cloak of protection offered by the writ.

    11. The Court has said in a line of cases that:

    “The issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, conditioned on the existence of a clear and a positive right of the movant which should be protected. It is an extraordinary peremptory remedy available only on the grounds expressly provided by law, specifically Section 3 Rule 58 of the Rules of Court (Valley Trading Co. Inc.vs Court of First Instance of Isabela, et.al. G.R. No.L-49529, 171 SCRA 501 [1989]).In the issuance thereof, the courts are given sufficient discretion to determine the necessity for the grant of the relief prayed for as it affects the respective rights of the parties with the caveat that extreme caution be observed in the exercise of such discretion (Bataclan et.al vs. Court of Appeals, et.al. G.R. 78148, 175 SCRA 764 [1989]).”

    12. The Honorable Supreme Court has time and again cautioned judges not to indiscriminately issue injunctions when the claimed “possible irreparable injury” of a party is compensable, or when its issuance will cause injury that will far outweigh the benefit it will serve to the party supposed to be protected. The Supreme Court has said that:
    “A writ of injunction should never issue when an action for damages would adequately compensate the injuries caused. The very foundation of the jurisdiction to issue the writ of injunction rests in the possibility of irreparable injury inadequacy of pecuniary compensation and the prevention of the multiplicity of suits, and where facts are not shown to bring the case within these conditions, the reliefs of injunction should be refused .(Golding vs. Balabat, et.al, 36 Phil. 941)”

    13. As provided in Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8975, viz:

    Section 3. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions. – No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government, or any of its subdivisions, officials or any person or entity, whether public or private acting under the government direction, to restrain, prohibit or compel the following acts:
    (a) Acquisition, clearance and development of the right-of-way and/or site or location of any national government project;
    (b) Bidding or awarding of contract/ project of the national government as defined under Section 2 hereof;
    (c) Commencement prosecution, execution, implementation, operation of any such contract or project;
    (d) Termination or rescission of any such contract/project; and
    (e) The undertaking or authorization of any other lawful activity necessary for such contract/project.

    14. The rationale behind the aforesaid prohibition, is to avoid disruption of essential government projects in areas of activity critical to the country’s economic development efforts, which, under the Constitution, must be implemented expeditiously and efficiently. Reaffirming the indispensability of this prohibition and to boost the policy against stoppage of government infrastructure projects, Congress enacted the aforementioned law with the constitutional objectives of: (1) avoiding unnecessary increase in construction costs; and (2) allowing the public to enjoy soonest the benefits of the project. R.A. No. 8975 further restated the constitutional basis of this government policy , to wit:
    Section 1. Declaration of Policy. – Article XII, Section 6 of the Constitution states that the use of property bears a social function, and all economic agents shall contribute to the common good. Towards this end, the State shall ensure the expeditious and efficient implementation and completion of government infrastructure projects to avoid unnecessary increase in construction, maintenance and/or repair costs and to immediately enjoy the social and economic benefits therefrom.

    15. While pronouncing the constitutional command for the use of private property to defer to common good, R.A. No. 8975 strengthened the parameters of the prohibition by delineating the coverage more clearly. It redefined national government projects as those which refer to all current and future national government infrastructure, engineering works and service contracts, including projects undertaken by government owned and controlled corporations.
    16. This prohibition is bolstered by the issuance of Administrative Circular No. 11-2000 which bans the issuance of temporary restraining orders or writs of preliminary prohibitory or mandatory injunctions in cases involving government infrastructure projects. Section 4, thereof, provides:
    Section 4.Nullity of Writs and Orders.- Any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction issued in violation of Section 3 hereof is void and of no force and effect.

    17. In July 2008, officers of various homeowners associations formally requested Paranaque City Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. to exercise his police powers under the Local Government Code to ensure their general welfare in providing them adequate potable water.
    18. Thus, on 7 August 2008, swayed by the pleas of the homeowners, the Paranaque City Council issued Resolution 08-054 authorizing Mayor Bernabe to exercise his police power by allowing Maynilad to immediately construct a water system in BF Homes Paranaque and provide Maynilad protection and security in undertaking such construction.
    19. However, the Honorable Judge finds Resolution No. 08-054 insufficient to authorize Maynilad to implement Presidential Decree No. 1345 and Executive Order No. 688 and impliedly construed the adoption of the said resolution as a subterfuge used by the City Government, the homeowners, MWSS and Maynilad to circumvent the application of the injunctive relief sought for by BF Homes Inc and PWCC. To reiterate, the private interests of the latter were given preference as opposed to the general welfare of the greater number. In the case of Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Republic of the Philippines, et al, G.R. No. 150824, February 4, 2008, the Supreme Court has stated:
    “To be sure, the validity of the exercise of police power in the name of the general welfare cannot be seriously attacked. Our government had definite instructions from the Constitution’s preamble to “promote the general welfare.” Jurisprudence has time and again upheld the police power over individual rights, because of the general welfare. Five decades ago, Mr. Justice Malcolm made it clear that the “right of the individual is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint by general law for the common good” and that the “liberty of the citizen may be restrained in the interest of public health, or of the public order and safety, or otherwise within the proper scope of the police power.” Mr. Justice Laurel, about twenty years later, affirmed the precept when he declared that “the state in order to promote the general welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations” and that “[p]ersons and property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state.” Recently, we quoted from leading American case, which pronounced that “neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the detriment of his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work them harm,” and that, therefore, “[e]qually fundamental with the private right is that of the public to regulate it in the common interest.” (emphasis supplied)

    20. Ratiocinating the above-mentioned ruling, the right of the residents and homeowners of the BF Homes Subdivision to clean and accessible water is a right superior and basic over the ownership rights of BF Homes, Inc. as “title” owners of the roadlots of the subdivision.
    21. Likewise, as cited in the case of White Plains Association, Inc. vs. Hon. Godofredo Legaspi, et al., viz:
    “It has long been recognized that the City Government of Quezon City, in the same vein as the National Government exercises the police power of the State. By enacting Ordinance No. 60-4580 which requires that the subdivision plan should provide for a 38 meter wide road, the City Council merely acted within its authority “to enact ordinance as may be necessary and proper for the health and safety; promote the prosperity, improve the morale, peace, good order, comfort and convenience.” (emphasis supplied)

    22. It must be stressed further that Presidential Decree No. 957, entitled, The Subdivision And Condominium Buyers’ Protection Decree was enacted on 12 July 1976, with no other end in view than to provide a protective mantle over helpless citizens who may fall prey to the manipulations and machinations of unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers. It was issued in the wake of numerous reports that many real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations to provide and maintain properly subdivision roads, drainage, sewerage, water systems, lighting systems, and other basic requirements for the health and safety of home and lot buyers. Such intent of the law is nowhere expressed more clearly than in its preamble, the pertinent portion of which reads:
    WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State to afford its inhabitants the requirements of decent human settlement and to provide them with ample opportunities for improving their quality of life;
    WHEREAS, numerous reports reveal that many real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations to provide and maintain properly subdivision roads, drainage, sewerage, water systems, lighting systems, and other similar basic requirements, thus endangering the health and safety of home and lot buyers; xxx”

    23. Provided further in the same law is the mandate of every owner or developer to provide for ample facilities and infrastructures, under Section 20 thereof which states, to wit:
    “Every owner or developer shall construct and provide the facilities, improvements, infrastructures and other forms of development, including water supply and lighting facilities, which are offered and indicated in the approved subdivision or condominium plans, brochures, prospectus, printed matters, letters or in any form of advertisement, within one year from the date of the issuance of the license for the subdivision or condominium project or such other period of time as may be fixed by the Authority (National Housing Authority).”

    24. Clearly, BF Homes Inc, failed miserably in complying with its representation to ensure that basic utilities such as adequate water supply, would be given to the BF Homes’ homeowners and residents. Adequate and stable supply of water is an assurance, among others, made by the BF Homes Inc. However, this basic necessity and commitment has been denied by the mentioned developer to its lot buyers (now residents and homeowners) to the immeasurable detriment of the latter. The action of the Honorable Judge is therefore tantamount to tolerating and rewarding the utter misrepresentation and dereliction of duty committed by BF Homes, Inc. while penalizing the residents and homeowners of BF Homes in continuously depriving them of much needed potable water, a basic human right!
    25. The Supreme Court further stressed in the doctrinal White Plains case, viz:
    “There is no gainsaying that the intervenor below and the defendant-appellant Association were denied due process by the failure to notify them of the petition for cancellation of the lien in TCT No. 112637 in the Court of First Instance of Rizal sitting as a land registration court. The argument, adopted by the lower court, that the White Plains Association composed of more than 400 lot and homeowners in the subdivision is not an interested party and was not entitled to notice is sophistic. More than any other group, it is the people who have chosen to establish their homes and raise their families in the area who are most interested and affected by any change in the subdivision plan. The owners of a subdivision include all costs, such as the setting aside of road spaces and open areas for parks, and possibly the construction of curbs and gutters, underground drainage, an adequate water supply, and whatever improvements it may have published to entice lot buyers, in computing the value at which all the lots shall be sold. If the subdivision reneges on any of its commitments, as exemplified in this case, the lot buyers are short-changed. They are made to pay more for less than what was agreed upon. They are parties in interest. Furthermore, the records show that the subdivision has recognized and dealt with the Association in various matters involving all the homeowners. The plaintiff-appellee cannot deal with and make use of the defendant-appellant when it suits its purpose and ignore it when the former moves in secrecry in order to perform acts prejudicial to the interests and welfare of the homeowners.” (Emphasis supplied)

    26. Finally, BF Homes Inc, et. al alleged in their Petition dated 19 March 2009 on the alleged unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 688 and Presidential Decree No. 1345, the Supreme Court thru Justice Zaldivar underscored in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers’ Union, et al, viz:
    “. . . thoroughly established principle which must be followed in all cases where questions of constitutionality as obtain in the instant cases are involved. All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld and the challenger must negate all possible basis; that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted.”

    27. The Honorable Judge evidently exercised grave abuse of discretion in granting the petition for preliminary injunction filed the petitioners in the stated case as it failed to impartially weigh the respective interests of both parties. Not only did the injunctive order entirely ignored the presumption of constitutionality of all laws but it derogates the well-entrenched principles of salus populi est suprema lex (the welfare of the individual yields to that of the community), which call for the subordination of individual interests to the benefit of the greater number.
    Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one should be deprived of such access of quality of water in expense of one’s personal economic advancement. We, the residents of BF Homes Paranaque, Muninlupa, and Las Piñas have long been deprived of the luxury to enjoy clean and potable water. As repeatedly emphasized and acknowledged by common human experience, water is a right, not a privilege!
    Thank you very much and more power!
    Respectfully yours,

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