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Monday, April 13, 2015

THE SC TAKES UP BINAY TRO


THE Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ petition against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.’s plea in the Court of Appeals to stop his suspension by the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II.

Court spokesperson Theodore Te says the oral arguments will be at 2 p.m. on April 14 in Baguio City, where the high court magistrates are holding their annual summer sessions. The proceedings will be livestreamed through the high court’s website.

Morales filed the petition for certiorari in late March, asking the Supreme Court to stop Binay’s certiorari plea in the appellate court to stop his suspension by the Ombudsman while under investigation for corruption.

However, the appellate court granted the Binay petition by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) last March 16, but only after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had served the suspension order against Binay and sworn into office Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña as acting mayor of Makati.

Citing the Ombudsman’s independence in undertaking administrative investigations of erring officials, Morales’ petition said the appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion by issuing a TRO holding Binay’s six-month suspension in abeyance.

The Ombudsman argues that the TRO was issued too late as the suspension order on Binay had already been served hours earlier.

This was also the position of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who issued an opinion on the issue at the request of the DILG, saying that the TRO was moot as the Ombudsman’s suspension order had been served and an acting mayor had been sworn in.

Because if this, Morales, De Lima, the DILG, Peña and several police officers were impleaded in a second, separate petition that Binay filed, asking that they be cited in contempt for refusing to honor the TRO.

On Monday, the appellate court erased all doubts about its intent, issuing a writ of preliminary injunction in Binay’s favor. The writ extended the 60-day TRO and placed Binay’s suspension on hold until the court has ruled with finality on his certiorari petition.

De Lima on Tuesday said she was accepting the appellate court’s Monday ruling which she said clarified the TRO issued in Binay’s favor.

In a statement, De Lima said the court’s resolution issuing the writ clarified the intent of the earlier TRO on the acts that were subject to restraint.

“It appears the court made the clarification precisely because the earlier TRO was subject to several interpretations, given the intervening events which affected its effectivity,” she said.

In issuing the writ, the Court of Appeals set aside the Ombudsman and the DILG’s arguments by saying the TRO restored the status quo before the suspension order was issued and that the courts have the authority to restrain interlocutory orders from the Ombudsman, such as the preventive suspension orders.

“With the writ of injunction issued being clearer on the status quo sought to be preserved, the intent of the Court of Appeals is less open to any further interpretation,” De Lima said.

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San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Megawide Construction Corp. will join the bidding for the construction and maintenance of the first modern prison facility in the country worth P50.2 billion.

Cosette Canilao, Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center executive director, said only SMC and Megawide bought the bid documents so far, for the regional prison facility.

“We are very grateful,” said Canilao, adding that conglomerates are keen on bidding for the prison facility despite several PPP projects lined up for auction.

The 500-hectare regional prison facility will be located at Fort Magsaysay military reservation in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.

The facility can accommodate 26,880 inmates and will have spaces for rehabilitation activities (counselling, religion, education, prison industry and indoor and outdoor recreation), central facilities, administration and central reception building.

The project construction is expected to start in March 2016, to be completed in three years.

As of March 10, the PPP Center said there are 60 PPP projects in the pipeline with a total indicative cost of $27.25711 billion

***

A former congressman complains about the plans of the President to create another panel of the Cardinal, Bishops and businessman to, as he points out, will study the pending Bangsamoro Basic Law. He asks what the religious leader and businessmen know about writing laws and the Constitution.

After all, we already have the Congress and the Senate that, by law and tradition, are given the task of creating and passing the laws of the country. While a Peace Panel that will help to move the Bangsamoro to fruition by giving support to the new autonomous region would be helpful, there is no need for still another body to study the law since this is already being discussed in both chamber (the Senate and the House). No other new entity needs to be created to help in passing this new autonomy law.

Said the former congressman who celebrated his 81st birthday recently: “Kung congressman pa ako, I will deliver a privilege speech attacking the President. What do these people know about creating laws and passing them? Why ask them to do a job when they don’t know the first thing about writing and passing laws?”

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- See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/sc-takes-binay-tro#sthash.fezSVQVd.dpuf

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