RESPECT for the rule of law became a key theme at the national convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Cebu City on Friday as Vice President Jejomar Binay criticized the Ombudsman and Departments of Interior and of Justice over the suspension of his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Binay said the three executive agencies are “brazenly ignoring the lawful court order” in a “stubborn display of political arrogance” when they insisted enforcing the suspension order against the Makati mayor despite an order from the Court of Appeals.
The executive department’s perceived disrespect and disregard for constitutional principles is also expected to be highlighted on Saturday when Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez speaks about protecting and preserving the integrity of the budgetary process in Congress.
On the opening yesterday, the keynote speaker was Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno discussing several reforms introduced in the judiciary for the speedy disposition of cases and she was joined by other speakers, like Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Arturo Brion.
But much of the attention was focused on Binay who disputed the arguments of the DILG, DOJ and Ombudsman on the suspension order against his son.
“Since when can an opinion and speculation overrule a court order?” Binay said, echoing the position of several lawyers, including the the current IBP president, who said the CA’s TRO should have prevailed since it refers to the actual suspension and not just the serving of the suspension.
“The rule of law provides predictability in the outcome of conflicts arising from transactions in commerce and industry. That is why upholding the rule of law is actually a pre-requisite to progress,” Binay said.
“This heroic effort of the Bar assures society that there is an institution ready to stand up to defend the constitutionally mandated separation of powers,” he added.
Meanwhile, the CA ordered Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Morales to explain their alleged defiance of its TRO stopping the mayor’s preventive suspension.
In a two-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr., the CA’s Sixth Division ordered gave the three officials a non-extendible period of three days from notice to comply with the order.
The appellate court also set hearings on the contempt petition of Mayor Binay against the officials on March 30 and 31 at 3 pm.
Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Eduardo Peralta Jr. concurred with the ruling.
Mayor Binay filed earlier this week petition for contempt, which was initially raffled to the 13th division of the CA. But since it was an offshoot of the TRO, it was transferred to the sixth division and consolidated with the original petition of Binay questioning the six-month suspension order imposed on him by the Ombudsman.
Mayor Binay alleged that Morales, De Lima, Roxas and Vice Mayor Kid Peña “acted in unison in defying the Court of Appeals’ restraining order” and also “showed their ill motives and biases against the Binays.”
Binay has impleaded Morales and De Lima in the contempt petition after they issued identical opinions that the TRO was moot and academic since it was issued three hours after the suspension was already served and Vice Mayor Peña already took his oath as acting mayor.
The two officials – both appointees of President Aquino - said the TRO was already “moot and academic” since the act it intended to restrain was the implementation of the six-month suspension order against the mayor, which was carried out by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) three hours before the CA issued the order.
Also impleaded in the contempt petition were DILG National Capital Region director Renato Brion, NCR Police Office regional director Carmelo Valmoria and Southern Police District director Henry Ranola Sr. Supt. Elmer Jamias. With Rey Requejo