SC grants clemency to ex-justice linked to ruling leakage

April 18, 2013 2:41 am 

MANILA, April 17 — The Supreme Court has granted judicial clemency to a former justice who was sanctioned by the SC "for leaking a confidential internal document of the Court."

During the deliberations of the SC en banc, retired SC Associate Justice Ruben T. Reyes was allowed by the Justices for his license in the bar be restored.

The SC gave leniency to Reyes in order to allow him to practice law again since he has suffered for four years already.

It decided to give Reyes a chance to be back in the legal practice where he has spent more than half of his life.

However, the SC en banc will not allow Reyes to enter into government service again and cannot give lectures in the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education and the Philippine Judicial Academy.

The former justice can only enter into private corporations where he can enjoy private practice of law.

In a unanimous per curiam ruling, Reyes was imposed with a fine of P500,000 for grave misconduct and suspended him from the practice of law.

The fine was earlier deducted from his retirement benefits.

In imposing the penalties, the SC adopted the 71-page report of its Investigating Committee composed of then Senior Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, as Chairperson, and then Associate Justices Renato C. Corona and Conchita Carpio Morales, as members.

The SC found the report "well-taken" and approved with modification the recommendations of the Investigating Committee which was tasked "to investigate the unauthorized release of the unpromulgated ponencia of Justice Reyes to determine who are responsible for this leakage of a confidential internal document of the En Banc, and to recommend to the En Banc the appropriate actions thereon."

A copy of a draft of Justice Reyes, signed by all the Justices of the SC except the Chief Justice, in the consolidated cases of Limkaichong v. Comelec, found its way into the hands of one of the petitioners in the said cases, Louis C. Biraogo, who distributed and circulated it to the media.

The Investigating Committee concluded "based on circumstantial evidence x x x x and particularly the evident undue interest of Justice Reyes to circulate a draft ponencia of the case even before the memoranda of all the parties fell due x x x x it was Justice Reyes himself who leaked a photocopy" of the draft. (PNA)

CTB/PTR

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