Leonen heads Supreme Court probe into judicial corruption-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
A THREE-MAN panel headed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen will look into the alleged corruption in the judiciary, especially regarding the activities of supposed fixer "Ma'am Arlene."
SC spokesperson Theodore Te said Thursday Leonen will be assisted by two retired SC justices, who will be named by the magistrate.
To avoid confusion, the High Court ordered the Court of Appeals, the Office of Court Administrator and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to submit the results of their respective findings to the panel, whose powers and tasks have yet to be laid down in public.
"AJ Marvic Leonen will meet with the NBI dedicated team that has been formed by the SOJ (Secretary of Justice) to investigate the alleged influence peddling in the judiciary tomorrow (Friday), unspecified time," said Te in a text message.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima inhibited from the investigation, citing her pending cases in the SC for contempt and disbarment for defying the Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) on the travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last November 2011.
De Lima earlier said she already has the name of a suspected "Ma'am Arlene" but declined to disclose this pending "preliminary verification" by the NBI.
"Ma'am Arlene" allegedly spent for lavish gifts and overseas vacation of some justices and judges in exchange for a favorable ruling for her wealthy bosses.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, meanwhile, is zeroing in on three "Ma'am Arlenes."
Marquez said the issue, which does not involve misuse of public funds, can be linked to the heated campaign for the presidency of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) last October 9.
According to reports, "Ma'am Arlene" allegedly used her influence in the election, which was won by Judge Ralph Lee of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. Lee and two other candidates, Judge Rommel Baybay (Makati) and Judge Felix Reyes (Makati), were already ordered to comment on the controversy.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has since asked de Lima, through the NBI, to determine possible criminal violations in the recently-concluded election and get the identity of private persons who have illegally influenced judges in resolving cases.
Meanwhile, Te clarified there is no lifestyle check yet on the members of the judiciary and court personnel.
He said Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales have initiated discussions on making use of the Ombudsman’s technical capability and legal mandate to undertake lifestyle review.
"These discussions are intended to look into possible mechanisms for such lifestyle checks," said Te. (Sunnex)