Calida invokes technicality to have martial law petitions dismissed

Lian Buan
Calida invokes technicality to have martial law petitions dismissed
Solicitor General Jose Calida will defend President Duterte in the SC oral arguments against the 3 petitions opposing his declaration of martial law in Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – Solicitor General Jose Calida has found technical loopholes which he used to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to right away dismiss petitions seeking to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

“The consolidated petitions suffer from fatal procedural defects that warrant their outright dismissal,” Calida said in his consolidated comment submitted to the SC on Monday, June 12.

The 3-day oral arguments of the SC begin on Tuesday, June 13, which will last up to Thursday, June 15. 

Unsigned verifications

In the petition filed by minority lawmakers led by Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman, Calida said that two of the co-petitioners did not sign the Verification page and the Certification of Non-Forum Shopping (CNFS) page.

The SC has already dropped the said co-petitioners, Northern Samar 1st District Representative Raul Daza and Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Edgar Erice.

“While Representatives Daza and Erice have been dropped as petitioners by this Honorable Court in its Resolution dated June 6, 2017, their failure to sign the Verification and CNFS makes their petition still defective in form,” Calida said. (READ: Calida: Pointless to question martial law by using news reports)

Calida also said that the CNFS was signed on June 3, 2016 even though it was submitted June 3, 2017.

Both the petitioners’ counsel and their notary public submitted an outdated Professional Tax Receipt (PTR), Calida said, as they found the PTRs to be from 2016 instead of 2017.

“This is in clear violation of B.M No. 1132 issued by this Honorable Court on November 12, 2002,” Calida said referring to an SC issuance which requires lawyers to submit their current PTRs in any pleadings they file.

You can read the Lagman petition here, and Calida’s consolidated comment here.

MCLE Compliance Number

Calida also found a defect in the jurats of the petition filed by Marawi residents led by Mindanao State University (MSU) Professor Norkaya Mohamad. Counsels of Mohamad’s group include constitutionalist Christian Monsod.

Monsod, however, “did not indicate his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Compliance number.” (READ: Nullify martial law? Your guide to the SC oral arguments)

Calida cited a circular from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) which requires lawyers to indicate in all their pleadings their MCLE compliance number or their certificate of exemption.

“Instead he indicated that ‘MCLE exemption under process.’ Since Atty Monsod failed to disclose his MCLE compliance number or MCLE exemption number, he violated the requirement under the circular and should hence be penalized by being discharged from this case,” Calida said.

Calida also said there were two locations in the signatory pages of the Mohamad petitions. 

“The prayer page indicates that the petition was signed by counsels on June 8, 2017 in Quezon City. Incredibly, the verifications page reveals that the petitioners signed it on the same day in Iligan City. The suspicious circumstances behind the signing of the pleading hints at the existence of fraud that demands further clarification and investigation by this Honorable Court,” Calida said.

You can read the Mohamad petition attached below:

 

  Norkaya Mohamad petition seeking to nullify martial law by Lian Nami Buan on Scribd

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.