Justice Presbitero Velasco: Faced with 'ethical' issues
MANILA, Philippines - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has received complaints against Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr thrice already - in 2002, 2003 and 2006. In all 3 instances, Velasco was accused of ethical misconduct.
On Friday, July 27, Velasco will again face the JBC as one of 20 nominees for chief justice.
In 2002 and 2003, the court watchdog Bantay Katarungan accused Velasco of "following up cases" even after he was appointed court administator in 2001. Velasco also allegedly held lavish parties and golf tournaments sponsored by companies owned by wealthy businessmen such as Lucio Tan.
The JBC, however, turned a blind eye to these allegations and voted for his inclusion in the shortlist in 2006. Velasco was appointed SC justice on the same year.
In 2011, Velasco slammed Justice Lourdes Sereno's disclosure of the Court's internal deliberations on a case involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Sereno's dissenting opinion on Nov 18, 2011 and Dec 13, 2011 raised questions on the SC's suspension of a temporary restraining order previously issued in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The issuance of the TRO barred the Department of Justice from implementing its travel ban against Arroyo and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel Arroyo. The DOJ prohibited them from going abroad because they are the subject of a preliminary investigation. The two were accused of electoral sabotage.
Sereno said in her dissent that Corona "distorted" the resolution to show that the Arroyo couple complied with the conditions attached to TRO. Velasco assailed Sereno though, saying she broke the Court's rule of confidentiality and moved to have parts of her dissenting opinion expunged from Court records. The Court retained the opinion in its records.
Case disposal rate in:
- 2007: 639 cases, 54% of caseload
- 2008: 606 cases, 73% of caseload
- 2009: 558 cases, 65% of caseload
- 2010: 516 cases, 64% of caseload
- 2011: 549 cases, 72% of caseload
- Court administrator (2001-2006)
- Court of Appeals Justice (1998-2001)
- Undersecretary at the Department of Justice (1995-1998)
- Velasco finished law at the University of the Philippines and took up political science in the same school.
- In 2010, veteran journalist and Rappler editor-at-large Marites Dañguilan-Vitug wrote that Velasco helped her son Lord Allan in his campaign for a congressional seat. Velasco sued her for libel and sought P1-M in damages -- the first sitting SC justice to ever file a libel case against a journalist. He filed another case when the article appeared in Vitug's book "Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court." He later withdrew one of the libel cases.
- Velasco's initial July 2011 ponencia (decision) in the case of Hacienda Luisita drew criticism for being "confusing." In the decision, the SC revoked the stock distribution option but mandated that a referendum be held among farmers to determine who would choose to still avail of it.
The stock distribution plan of Hacienda Luisita, which was approved on Nov 21, 1989 by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, has been said to be disadvantageous to the farmers of the 6,000 hectare-sugar plantation because it abrogates the distribution of agricultural lands in favor of stock transfer. The SC nullified it in the initial ruling penned by Velasco, but maintained that farmers - through a referendum - could vote to still avail of it.
Marlon Manuel, lawyer of FARM, one of the farmer-groups in Hacienda Luisita, said the SC pulled not only a doublespeak in this case but a "multispeak."
The SC, in a final ruling promulgated this year, did away with the referendum and ordered the sugar plantation's outright distribution to farmer-beneficiaries. - Rappler.com.
Click on the links below for more.
- 22 official candidates for Chief Justice
- JBC to interview CJ candidates starting July 24
- 25 accept nominations for chief justice
- Questions for chief justice candidates
- JBC should review process of choosing CJ
- Besides JBC, Palace has judicial search committee
- CONVERSATIONS: How should the JBC choose the next chief justice? #SCWatch