Unseated Marinduque solon calls on SC justice not to use his post to give life to constitutional crisis

July 11, 2013 11:45 pm 

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, July 11 (PNA) — Unseated Marinduque Rep. Reginal Ongsiako-Reyes Thursday called on Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. to stop using his position "to give life to a constitutional crisis."

Reyes was unseated by the Commission on Elections as representative of the lone district of Marinduque.

The Comelec ruling came after the SC upheld Comelec's earlier ruling disqualifying her to run for office for being allegedly a United States citizen.

With the ruling, Lord Allan Jay Velasco will assume the congressional seat in Marinduque.

"I beseech (Associate Justice) Presbitero Velasco to stop using his unelected post to further the interest of his family. I call on him to refrain from using his unelected post to give life to another constitutional crisis," Reyes told a news conference Thursday.

Reyes said she has been proclaimed as the winner in the May 13, 2013 elections and with her proclamation, her case falls under the sole jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

"Only HRET can be the sole judge of all controversies involving the election of all members of Congress. This is what the Philippine Constitution, our laws and our jurisprudence provides," she said.

"Apparently, my election has become the lone exception to the rule. It is very clear that jurisprudence cannot be opened unless there are changed circumstances and yet apparently, Comelec and the Supreme Court have rewritten jurisprudence when they effectively rule that the son of Justice Velasco should sit as representative of Marinduque,” she added.

She noted the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion who handed a stinging rebuke to his colleagues when they voted to dismiss the petition of Reyes.

Brion, who was joined in by Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Martin S. Villarama, Jr. and Marvic Leonen in his dissent, called the ruling "unusual" and "hasty."

"[U]nless the case is clearly and patently shown to be without basis and out of our sense of delicadeza (which we should have), the court should at least hear and consider both sides before making a ruling that would favor the son of a member of the court," he said.

"If this court is indeed serious in administering justice or at least to be seen to be administering justice in the way described in the speeches of many a justice of this court, it should not deliver the kind of hasty and imprudent action that it did in this case. The proper course of action, if the court indeed honestly wants to achieve this objective in the present case, is to require the Comelec to comment on the petition and to decide matters from that point," Brion added.

He said the outright dismissal of Reyes' petition left the losing candidate, Lord Allan Jay Velasco of the National Unity Party, as the "indirect beneficiary" because he would then be proclaimed the real winner upon Reyes' disqualification.

Had the case reached the court via the HRET, Reyes' disqualification, if upheld, would have left the congressional seat vacant and new elections would have to be held.

He added the ruling of the SC "is a major retrogressive jurisprudential development that can emasculate the HRET."

Velasco, together with Associate Justices Jose C. Mendoza and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe inhibited from the case. (PNA)

HBC/PTR

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