CA justices hit Trillanes for 'baseless' bribery claims
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals' (CA) 6th division on Monday, April 13, denied Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's claims that two of its members received bribes in exchange for issuing resolutions favoring Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
Citing "reliable sources privy to the matter," Trillanes said that CA justices Jose Reyes Jr and Francisco Acosta allegedly got a total of P50 million ($1.12 million) to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction stopping the Ombudsman's preventive suspension against Binay.
Trillanes also said that the Binays paid off the CA justices through lawyer F. Arthur "Pancho" Villaraza.
In a statement, Reyes, chairman of the appellate court's 6th division, denied receiving any amount to rule in favor of Binay.
"The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and preliminary injunction were issued by the Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals, acting as a collegiate body, after observing a meticulous, impartial and judicious evaluation of prevailing laws, jurisprudence and evidence presented by the parties," the statement read.
Reyes also called the senator's "baseless accusations" a form of "harassment," adding that it sought to threaten the justices for performing their duties.
He added: "The judiciary must be insulated from partisan politics. We dispense justice based on the rule of law and established evidence, and will continue to do so."
Meanwhile, the Villaraza & Angangco (V&A) Law Office challenged Trillanes to present proof supporting his "libelous statements."
The law firm's managing partner, Bienvenido Somera Jr., called on the senator to reveal his sources to back up his claim that one of their partners facilitated the alleged bribery.
“In the spirit of fairness and in accordance with due process, we challenge Senator Trillanes to reveal who his 'reliable sources' are, and more importantly to produce proof to support his libelous statements,” Somera said.
In an earlier text message to Rappler, Villaraza likewise dismissed the claims as "nonsense."
On Monday, Trillanes filed Senate Resolution 1265 asking for a probe into the corruption allegations.
The senator's claims stem from the appellate court's rulings stopping the 6-month preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman against Binay over the alleged overpricing of a Makati city building.
The CA earlier issued a 60-day TRO stopping Binay's suspension on the same day the order was served.
The court later granted Binay's plea for a writ of preliminary injunction stopping the suspension indefinitely.
The Ombudsman has filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the CA's ruling.
The High Court is set to hear oral arguments on the Ombudsman's petition on Tuesday, April 13, in Baguio City. – Rappler.com