MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra defended President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter warned judges to be “sparing” in issuing temporary restraining orders (TRO) against the government’s dam projects in Luzon.
In a statement sent to reporters on Wednesday, January 1, Guevarra said it was just the President’s usual “tough” talk.
“The President knows that the judiciary is independent of the executive branch. He was merely expressing, in his own usual tough style, a personal sentiment and hope that the courts will not obstruct the pursuit of major development projects,” Guevarra said.
He also pointed to Republic Act No. 8975 that bans all courts (except the Supreme Court) from issuing TROs or preliminary injunctions against infrastructure projects of the national government.
However, the ban will not apply “when the matter is of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue, such that unless a temporary restraining order is issued, grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise,” according to Section 3 of the law.
In a speech on Monday, December 30, Duterte warned judges to be “sparing” in issuing TROs, as he pushed for the construction of the Kaliwa Dam and Wawa Dam to solve water woes in Metro Manila.
“If [the TRO] is really a work of a legal mind, then maybe. ‘Pag hindi, pakain ko iyang TRO mo (If not, I’ll make you eat your TRO),” Duterte said. – Rappler.com