Lawyer expresses high hopes after SC allowed Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition in Indonesia

Maris Federez   •   October 14, 2019   •   2021

 Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, 29, cries during an appeal hearing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 03 March 2015. EPA/BIMO SATRIO

The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the out-of-court deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia.

The SC reversed the 2017 Court of Appeals (CA) decision that rejected the resolution of the Nueva Ecija Trial Court that allowed the prosecution to get Veloso’s deposition through written interrogatories.

READ: Supreme Court allows deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia

The High Court said Mary Jane will be denied due process if she will not be given the chance for an out-of-court deposition.

Veloso’s lawyer, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Atty. Edre Olalia, said they still do not know guidelines in drawing the deposition as they have yet to receive a copy of the SC decision.

This means that there is no clear indication yet as to when the prosecution will go to Indonesia to get Veloso’s testimony.

Despite this, Olalia believes that the SC ruling has a big impact on how the case will roll.

“Kami ay kumpiyansa naman na mapaparusahan yung mga recruiters tapos iyon ang magiging hudyat ng Indonesia para either gawing permanente ang pagpapaliban, babaan ang sentensya, patawarin na lang siya sa pamamagitan ng pardon o amnesty,” Olalia said.

He added that Mary Jane’s testimony is very crucial as it will be used against her recruiters who are now facing human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa cases.

Veloso was arrested in Indonesia in April 2010 for smuggling heroin and was, thereafter, sentenced to death.

In April 2015, Veloso’s execution was suspended due to the human trafficking case that was filed in the Philippines wherein she is considered a vital witness. (From the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Supreme Courts issues TRO vs COMELEC’s decision to cancel Senate bet COC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) decision to declare as a nuisance and cancel the certificate of candidacy of a senatorial aspirant.

In a document posted by the SC Public Information Office on Twitter, the high court granted the petition of Norman Cordero Marquez, assailing the poll body’s decision to cancel his candidacy for the May 2022 elections.

The SC said the petition appears to be sufficient in form and substance.

Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition, the court said it has required the COMELEC to comment on the petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice.

“Now, therefore, respondent COMELEC is hereby required to comment on the petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice hereof,” the document read.

“Meanwhile, a temporary restraining order is issued, effective immediately and continuing until further orders this court,” it added.

Supreme Court moves Bar exams to February

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday announced that the Bar examinations have been rescheduled to February 4 (Friday) and February 6 (Sunday).

The SC said this is in consideration for those who may not be able to push through with the exams due to the current COVID-19 situation.

The Bar exams were originally scheduled for January 23 to 25, 2022.

In a Bar bulletin, the SC said a total of 8,546 Bar examinees have reported that some of them have tested positive for COVID-19, living with COVID patients, or under quarantine due to direct contact.

The high court also said that 16 of the 31 teams that will be deployed will be “critically understaffed” if the current schedule were maintained.

“Considering these numbers, as well as the projections of the Court’s expert consultants on the progress of this current COVID-19 surge, the Supreme Court En Banc has unanimously decided that the Bar examinations be rescheduled to February 4, 2022, Friday; and February 6, 2022, Sunday,” the SC said.

Bar exams chairperson, SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, has urged Bar examinees to strictly undergo quarantine by January 20.

Bar takers who have concerns that are not within the competence of the SC’s help desks are advised to contact the SC via BarChairLeonen@gmail.com.

“Be patient. Take a few days off to regain your composure and then continue with your preparations. Soon, those who have the determination, tenacity, and resilience to overcome these challenges will become great lawyers who will serve our people well,” he said.

Leonen also expressed gratitude to local government units as well as schools that will host the command center and serve as local testing centers.

Work suspension in Supreme Court offices extended until January 8

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has announced that work in its offices will remain suspended until January 8, amid rising cases of COVID-9 among its personnel.

In Memorandum Order 3-2022 released on Wednesday, the SC said this is to pave the way for massive antigen testing of its personnel and allow further contact tracing on other employees who had close contacts with those infected with COVID-19.

Citing the report from the Medical and Dental Services, the SC said that the administration of antigen testing on all court personnel, as well as employees of service providers, has not yet been completed and that there is a high positivity rate among those already tested.

Personnel of the Office of the Bar Chair and Office of the Bar Confidant who are involved in the 2020/2021 bar examinations, Office of the Administrative Services-SC, MDS, and Receiving Section of the Judicial Records Office who are involved in e-filing, are still required to report on-site, the court said.

The court said it will deploy buses to ferry said personnel.

In a separate memorandum, the SC Office of the Court Administrator also announced a two-day work suspension from January 6 to January 7 in all the first and second level courts in the National Capital Region due to the increasing number of judges and court personnel contracting the virus.

The work suspension will allow the further disinfection of court premises and conduct of contact tracing and testing among the court personnel.

Due to the work suspension, the period of filing of all pleadings and other court submissions that would fall on the said days will also be extended.

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