(Update) De Lima’s legal opinion on Binay’s case tackled in oral argument at CA

April 1, 2015 5:30 am 

MANILA, March 31 — The legal opinion issued by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima in connection with the case involving suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. was tackled during the oral argument at the Court of Appeals (CA) on Tuesday.

According to Atty. Claro Certeza, counsel of Binay, the disclosure by De Lima of her views to the media and the posting on the website by the DOJ chief of her legal opinion is considered as “sub judice.”

In her legal opinion, De Lima said that the TRO issued by the CA Sixth Division against the preventive suspension of Binay had no “legal effect.”

The legal opinion added that the TRO is already “moot and academic” because the suspension order sought to be stopped by the TRO had already been served.

However, Certeza argued that the said legal opinion showed "disrespect" to the power of the CA.

On the argument that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has “immunity from contempt proceedings” because she is an “impeachable officer,” Certeza said that there is no law that supports the said position of the Ombudsman.

He added that the pursuit of the contempt proceedings is not aimed at ousting Morales from her post.

Certeza said that the contempt proceedings is also not a criminal proceedings because it is "remedial and civil in nature."

He further argued that their objective in the filing of the contempt petition was to direct the Ombudsman to respect the order and processes of the court.

Certeza added that under Section 7, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, the “indirect contempt” has a corresponding penalty of PhP30,000 fine or imprisonment.

However, he said that they believe that whatever will be the decision of the CA, it will not impose a penalty which will hinder the work of Morales as Ombudsman. (PNA)

SCS/PTR/EDS

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