SC clarifies order to release Ex-Mayor Sanchez didn’t come from them

Maris Federez   •   August 23, 2019   •   671

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has clarified that the order to release former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez from prison did not emanate from them.

Supreme Court spokesperson Atty. Bryan Keith Hosaka said the high court only issued its interpretation of Republic Act 10592 which increased the good conduct time allowance given to prisoners.

The high court ruled that the said law can be applied retroactively, which would include the case of the former mayor.

“First the Supreme Court did not order the release of Mayor Sanchez in its recent decision in the consolidated cases.  Like all laws, the implementation and execution of RA10952 is left for the executive branch of government, again, the judiciary or the supreme court only interpreted RA10952 and ruled that it can be applied retroactively,” Hosaka said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said that they have asked the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to draft clearer guidelines as to who can benefit the credit time allowances to inmates.

Guevarra added that it will be very timely for Congress to scrutinize the implementation of the said law.

 “We have requested the Bucor through Faeldon be very clear about the guidelines kasi mukhang di pa maayos na maayos ang mga guidelines diyan [because it seems that the guidelines are not yet clearly defined]. So, this is an opportunity for the Bucor to make clear mga [the] guidelines,” said Guevarra.

Meanwhile, a group of women on Friday staged a protest in front of the Department of Justice against the impending release of Mayor Sanchez who was convicted for a rape and murder of two UP Los Baños students.

Lisa Maza, leader of Gabriela Alliance of Women said, “Ito ay isang pagsalaula sa ating justice system. Malinaw po na marami din siyang paglabag na ginawa noong siya ay nasa kulungan kaya hindi siya karapat dapat na lumaya [This is a derision to our justice system. It is very clear that he had committed a lot of violations while serving time in prison that is why he doesn’t deserve to be set free].” (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Senators eyeing to file SC petition vs VFA abrogation next week – Lacson

Robie de Guzman   •   February 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senators may file before the Supreme Court next week the petition questioning the country’s termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States without the concurrence of the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson said.

In a press conference on Thursday, Lacson said they are now finalizing the petition before taking it to the high court.

Next week ipa-file yan. We’re not sure yet who among the senators will sign the petition as co-petitioners. But I for one will join the SP (Senate President Vicente Sotto III) in the filing of the petition as a co-petitioner,” he said.

Sotto earlier said that some senators from the majority and minority blocs are interested in joining them in contesting the scrapping of the military pact.

They believe that it is only the Supreme Court that can rule with finality on the issue since the Philippine Constitution is “silent” when it comes to the termination of treaties and international agreements.

Under the Constitution, the Senate’s concurrence is required before a treaty can be ratified.

The Senate has filed a similar petition in the SC in 2018 asserting the upper chamber’s right to have a say in President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to pull out the Philippines from the International Criminal Court.

Aside from senators, Lacson also claimed that a number of Cabinet members “have apprehensions and reservations” about Duterte’s decision to scrap the VFA.

“Nag-e-express sila pero lagi sila nananantsa ba, na kung how to bring it to his attention, how to dissuade him from proceeding sa abrogation. And sa tingin lang mukhang made up ang mind ni PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). But there are times na medyo parang lumalambot. But that’s where we are right now,” he said.

“Ang mga nakausap namin halos unanimous sila magsabi, not really against, but meron silang apprehensions and reservations sa pag-abrogate. Wala pa akong nakausap na all-out in supporting PRRD to abrogate,” he added.

The VFA between Washington and Manila came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.

Earlier this month, Duterte ordered the formal termination of the VFA following the US’ move to cancel the visa of his ally, former National Police chief and now Senator Ronald Dela Rosa.

Duterte has also repeatedly criticized the US for its ‘disrespectful’ actions including meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

The military deal will be effectively terminated on August 9 or 180 days from the US’ receipt of the notice of termination.

Marshals in the judiciary, a necessity – CJ Peralta

Maris Federez   •   November 20, 2019

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Wednesday (November 20) attended the Senate hearing for the proposed budget of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

CJ Peralta said they have filed their proposal for the courts to have their own marshals to ensure the security of the members of the judiciary, especially the judges.

“We have already submitted our own proposal. I think it’s already in Congress. I think they already presented the bill. I do not know yet in the Senate,” Peralta said.

The chief magistrate reiterates the necessity to have marshals installed in the judiciary in the midst of reports of judges getting killed in some parts of the country. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

CJ Peralta hopes verdict on Maguindanao massacre will be issued before year-end

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Journalism students of Bulacan State University light candles in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre in front of Bulacan Capitol, Malolos City, Bulacan. Photo taken November 21, 2013. | PVI/Junnel Aquino

The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes a 30-day extension in issuing her verdict on the Maguindanao Massacre case.

The case has already been submitted for resolution on August 22 and the court was supposed to come up with a verdict within 90 days or until the third week of November but Judge Reyes requested an extension.

CJ Peralta said they understand Reyes’ predicament due to the voluminous records and evidence that she had to consider which prompted the Supreme Court to approve her request for a one-month extension.

“We also allow meritorious motion for extension and we understand her predicament,” said Peralta.

The chief magistrate, however, expressed hope that Judge Reyes will no longer ask for another extension in issuing her verdict on the case.

“I hope that she will no longer ask for another extension so that before the end of the year those cases will finally be decided,” he said.

According to the memorandum that the SC sent to Reyes, she has until December 30 to arrive at a decision and it is already non-extendible.

On November 23, 2009, armed men ambushed 58 individuals, including 32 members of the media, in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Among the slain was the wife of former Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu who was supposed to file his certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao gubernatorial election, opposing the Ampatuan clan.

The Maguindanao Massacre is considered the world’s worst election-related incident of violence and the deadliest attack against the members of the media. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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