SC ready to accept petitions on GCTA law

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   94

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said it is ready to accept petitions challenging the provisions of the Republic Act 10592 or the law which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

SC Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said they will accept the petitions especially if these meet all the requirements and are found with justiciable issue.

The SC chief magistrate added that it will also depend on the crafting of the petition whether the SC can exercise its jurisdiction toward a particular matter.

“As to what issues will be raised there, it will depend on whether that issue is premature or not yet justiciable. Assuming na justiciable na yan, we can surely accept,” Bersamin said.

The law containing the new rule on GCTA has been recently placed under scrutiny following reports that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived of liberty who are eligible for early release for good behavior while in prison.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.

The law was passed and signed during the time of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino in 2013. Last June 2019, the SC ruled that the law could be applied retroactively.

“These matters that are being discussed in the public investigation of the Senate will deal probably with the specific situation where an applicant or person presently detained will probably be denied or release, so that is the good time to say na justiciable na siguro yan,” Bersamin said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Minority senators oppose PET ruling on Marcos electoral protest

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2019

(L-R) Former senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Minority Senators Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, and Kiko Pangilinan expressed strong opposition to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) on the electoral protest filed by former senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a statement, members of the Senate minority stressed that the case should be dismissed citing the progress of the recount which they said obviously revealed the victory of Robredo against Marcos in the 2016 Vice Presidential election.

“Isinagawa ang recount. Ang resulta: Lalo pang lumaki ang lamang ni VP Leni sa mga lugar na sinasabi ni Ginoong Marcos na dinaya siya, imbes na makitang bumaliktad ang resulta at mapatunayan ang kanyang paratang, lalo pang lumitaw ang katotohanan: Panalo si VP Leni,” the senators argued.

The opposition senators accused the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), of breaking its own rules for not acting appropriately on the matter.

“Ang dapat mangyari ngayon: I-dismiss na ang kaso. Tantanan na ang kasinungalingan. Tanggapin na ang katotohanang si Leni Robredo ang Pangalawang Pangulo ng bansa,” the statement said.

“Ngunit ang mangyayari ngayon, sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema: Pinapakomento ang dalawang panig sa isa pang petisyon ni Ginoong Marcos.” It added.

The minority senators sided with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio whose dissenting opinion stated that it was Robredo who received the most number of votes in the three areas personally picked by Marcos — Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Camarines Sur — where he claimed his votes were rigged.

On Tuesday (October 15), the SC ruled to release the result of the recount in three provinces concerned in Marcos’ poll protest.

The SC asked Robredo and Marcos to submit their comments on the results which they need to submit “within a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice” as announced by SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Peralta, Bernabe get top JBC votes in SC chief justice shortlist

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

Supreme Court Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta (L) and Estela Perlas-Bernabe (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Diosdado Peralta got top votes from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in its shortlist for the next chief justice.

According to a copy of the shortlist released by the SC’s Public Information Office on Tuesday, October 15, both Bernabe and Peralta got seven votes.

Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., meanwhile, got four votes from JBC members while Associate Justice Jose Reyes received one vote.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

The shortlist has been submitted by the JBC to Duterte for choosing.

Under the Philippine Constitution, Duterte has 90 days to pick the next SC top magistrate.

VP poll protest: SC allows release of pilot recount result from 3 provinces

Maris Federez   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of former senator Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday (October 15) once again staged a show of force in front of the Supreme Court (SC).

Both camps were expecting that the SC, which acts as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will release its decision on the preliminary recount report by Justice Benjamin Caguioa from the three provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Camarines Sur, in relation to the protest that Marcos filed against Robredo on the alleged massive cheating and anomaly in the 2016 vice-presidential elections.

However, the SC en banc session instead discussed about releasing the result of the pilot recount in the three pilot provinces.

With 11 – 2 votes, the tribunal has allowed the release of the report on the revision and recount in the said provinces.

“The tribunal has decided to release to the parties the report on the revision and appreciation of ballots in the three provinces, and for them to comment thereon,” said SC spokesperson, Atty Brian Keith Hosaka.

Both Justices Antonio Carpio and Caguioa dissented the said resolution.

The PET also directed the two camps to submit their position, comments or disagreement over any issues presented in the preliminary report on the recount.

“The tribunal likewise required the parties to submit memoranda on the various issues relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the third cause of action, which is the annulment of election results for Vice President in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao, within a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice,” Hosaka said.

This has been the fourth time that the voting on the Caguioa report on the result of the initial recount has been suspended.

The voting will determine whether the High Court will continue to hear or dismiss Marcos’ protest. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf


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