MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to his claims, it was Midas Marquez, Court Administrator and spokesperson of the Supreme Court, who declared a court holiday on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011.
In various media interviews Thursday morning, Marquez said he did not give any order to court personnel but merely “suggested” — through a text message — that they may go to the Supreme Court building in Manila to show their support for the embattled chief justice.
But we obtained a copy of a notice sent by Executive Judge Edgar Garvilles of Bacolod City to judges, clerks of court and court personnel under his jurisdiction that cited Marquez’s declaration of a court holiday on Dec. 14, 2011.
Dated Dec. 13, 2011, the memorandum reads: “Quoted hereunder is a cellphone message from the Office of the Court Administrator. ‘A Court Holiday is declared for tomorrow, December 14, 2011, in solidarity with Chief Justice Corona who will be addressing the nation regarding the impeachment complaint filed against him. All Judges and Court Personnel are therefore expected to suspend court sessions and office work on the holiday tomorrow.”‘
The memorandum was signed by Hon. Edgar G. Garvilles, executive judge of the 6th judicial region based in Bacolod City.
Interviewed on radio dzBB Thursday morning, Marquez insisted that he did not declare a court holiday.
“Martes pa lang ng hapon tinanong na ako at sinabi ko sa lahat na media wala akong pinapatawag na court holiday. Hindi tayo nagdedeklara ng court holiday, sa judges yan kung anong suporta ang gusto nila ipadama,” he said.
As head of the Office of the Court Administrator, Marquez has direct supervision over all judges and court personnel nationwide.
University of the East College of Law Dean Atty Amado Valdez on Wednesday told reporters that regional trial court judges and officers may face civil and criminal complaints if they are proven to have participated in Wednesday’s “court holiday.”
If their actions derailed court proceedings, they may be charged with dereliction of duty, he added.
On Twitter on Wednesday, lawyer Theodore Te said the court holiday is a euphemism for strike. – Rappler.com
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