MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) is set to hear next week oral arguments on the Ombudman’s petition against a court order stopping the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
On Tuesday, April 7, SC spokesman Theodore Te announced that the oral arguments on the Ombudsman’s petition will be held next Tuesday, April 14, in Baguio City, where the High Court is holding its summer session.
On March 26, the Ombudsman filed a 36-page petition asking the SC to stop the Court of Appeals (CA) from implementing the temporary restraining order (TRO) it had issued against the Makati mayor’s suspension.
The Ombudsman argued that the CA committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing two resolutions over the Binay suspension order – one for a TRO and another asking the Ombudsman to answer contempt charges filed by the Binay camp.
It added that the CA “gravely undermined” the Ombudsman’s mandate as an independent body by issuing the TRO against its suspension order.
On March 11, the Ombudsman ordered the 6-month preventive suspension of Binay and other city officials in connection with an alleged overpriced city hall building.
Binay defied the suspension order served by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on March 16, citing his then pending petition with the CA.
The CA issued a 60-day TRO on Binay’s suspension an hour later.
But the Ombudsman and the DILG have said that the TRO was “moot and academic” because it came too late.
On Monday, April 6, the CA ruled in favor of Binay when it granted his plea for a writ of preliminary injunction, stopping the Ombudsman’s suspension order indefinitely.
The appellate court also enjoined the Ombudsman and the DILG from enforcing the suspension order and to “respect and preserve the status quo before the issuance of the aforesaid Joint Order.”
Binay to SC: ‘Junk Ombudsman petition’
Binay on Monday also asked the SC to reject the Ombudsman’s petition, saying that he should not be held administratively liable for the alleged overpricing of a city building.
The mayor’s camp invoked the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” which renders moot administrative cases of re-elected officials during their previous term.
Binay’s legal counsel noted that the subject of the complaint, the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, was built in 5 phases, and only the last 3 phases were constructed during Binay’s first term.
But based on the Aguinaldo doctrine, acts allegedly committed during an official’s first term will be rendered moot once the official is re-elected.
Binay said his re-election in 2013 absolves him from any supposed liability during his first term. – Rappler.com
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