SC allows IBP to hold elections in Western Visayas

December 14, 2012 11:03 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 14 — The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to proceed with the elections of its officials in Western Visayas Region.

This was after the SC lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued on the elections of the Philippines' biggest lawyers' league in the said region.

In an en banc decision written by Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, the SC said that it "[found] merit in the contentions of both parties, and thus believes that the IBP-[Board of Governors] should be given its say on the matter pursuant to the dictates of due process."

"The Temporary Restraining Order dated May 3, 2011 is hereby lifted and the IBP-Western Visayas Region is hereby ordered to proceed with its election of Govenor for the 2011-2013 term pursuant to the rotation by exclusion rule," the ruling said.

Last year, a group of IBC officials from the said region asked the SC to lift the TRO.

It claimed that its issuance was part of a conspiracy to deprive the Capiz chapter of its opportunity in the rotation for IBP governorship.

They argued that the immediate holding of election for governor of Western Visayas Region will serve the paramount interest of IBP.

However, they said that the continuing effectivity of the TRO would further wreak extreme damage and prejudice to Western Visayas Region.

The SC en banc in June last year unanimously ratified former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona's issuance of an order that restrained the elections on the basis that the roster of nominees was confined to members from Capiz.

Corona's issuance of TRO sparked controversy as he was accused by aggrieved parties to have favored his fraternity brother, Atty. Marven Daquilanea.

On July 27, 2012, the IBP-Southern Luzon Region filed its petition for intervention seeking a declaration that it was qualified to nominate a candidate for the position of Executive Vice-President for the 2011-2013 term.

It argued that since the SC removed its member Atty. Rogelio Vinluan, as IBP Executive Vice-President for the 2007-2009 term, it should not be prejudiced and disallowed to vie for the position of Executive Vice-President of the IBP for the 2011-2013 term.

It added that to do so would be a violation of the rotational system and the principle of equal rotation among the different regions to lead the IBP.

On Sept. 21, 2012, Gov. Erwin Fortunato opposed the position of the IBP-Southern Luzon on the ground, among others, that in its Dec. 14, 2010 Resolution, the SC found that it was only the IBP-Western Visayas chapter and the IBP-Eastern Mindanao chapter that had yet to have their turns as Executive Vice-President.

It claimed that since IBP-Eastern Mindanao, through now IBP President Roan I. Libarios, was elected as the Executive Vice-President, it is only IBP-Western Visayas which is the only region qualified to file a candidate for the 2011-2013 term.

In its decision, the SC en banc ruled that in the IBP-Western Visayas Region, the rotation by exclusion "shall be adopted such that, initially, all chapters of the region shall have the equal opportunity to vie for the position of Governor for the next cycle except Romblon."

The IBP Board of Governors was ordered to file its comment on the petition for Intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon, within 10 days from receipt. (PNA)

RMA/PTR

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