SC employees under pressure?
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.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
TAGS: Supreme Court