MANILA, Philippines – After 4 years, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, April 9, lifted the suspension order it imposed on retired SC Justice Ruben Reyes and allowed him to practice law again.
The SC lifted the indefinite suspension for “humanitarian reasons.” The High Court said the 74-year-old Reyes can practice law again but is still barred from working in the government and teaching law.
Reyes was suspended and fined P500,000 in February 2009 for leaking his draft decision on the citizenship case of then Negros Oriental Rep Jocelyn Limkaichong. One of the petitioners — businessman Louis Biraogo — got a copy of the draft decision, which disqualified Limkaichong as a member of the House of Representatives for allegedly being Chinese.
He released a copy of the said decision to the media.
The SC said Reyes showed “undue interest” in the case as he circulated the decision for signing even when justices earlier agreed to withhold the draft decision. He also drafted a decision even as the parties had yet to submit their respective memoranda.
Reyes filed a motion for reconsideration, saying the High Court’s 2009 decision to penalize failed to clearly state the facts, along with the law they based their decision on. The SC said its ruling contained the report of an investigating panel which has all the details about what transpired in relation to the leak.
The High Court’s ruling regarding the case was contrary to what Reyes said in his draft decision. The SC upheld in 2010 a resolution of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, which said Limkaichong is a Filipino citizen and should remain in Congress. – Rappler.com