Special court division formed to handle ‘Junjun’ plea
The Court of Appeals has created a special division to decide on the petition of suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay against the second suspension order issued against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.
The CA assigned two additional associate justices to the original three associate justices who handled Binay’s petition.
This was after a “2-1 vote” of the CA Ninth Division on the petition of Binay against the second suspension order imposed on him by the Ombudsman.
Under the internal rules of the CA, there should be a “unanimous” voting in favor of a decision, however, if one is against, there’s a need to designate two other members of the division to attain a “majority decision”.
The new members of the CA Special Division are Associate Justices Franchito Diamante and Socorro Inting.
However, Diamante manifested that he would inhibit himself from the case because he is a member of the CA Internal Committee which is investigating the bribery allegations of Senator Antonio “Sony” Trillanes IV against two CA Associate Justices who handled the first preventive suspension order of the Ombudsman against Binay.
The three original members of the CA Special Ninth Division are Associate Justices Amy Lazaro-Javier, Rodil Zalameda and Melchor Sadang, who is the ponente of the decision.
However, it was not clear whether the earlier “2-1 ruling” was in favor of or against Binay.
Under Office Order No. 190-15-ABR signed by CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., he ordered the conduct of the investigation over the allegations of Trillanes of P25-million bribery of the Binays each to Associate Justices Jose Reyes and Francisco Acosta.
The Chairman of the Internal Committee was headed by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon.
The members include Diamante and Manuel Barrios who belongs to the original set of Ethics Committee members.
Barrios and Diamante chose to hold on with the task and conduct the investigation, along with Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan.
The CA Special Ninth Division case of Binay case involves his second preventive suspension imposed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Moralles.
Binay is now under suspension for the second time due to alleged irregularities in the construction of a 10-storey building in the Makati Science High School.
He earlier sought redress with the CA Sixth Division and issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in his favor.
However, it became controversial after Trillanes alleged that there was bribe money in exchange for the TRO.
The first case involves the alleged “overpriced” construction of the Makati City Hall Building II which is now elevated to the Supreme Court (SC) for review.