FOR "utter lack of merit," the Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the complaints filed by William Guialani and Clemente Atoc against Justices of Court of Appeals (CA) in Mindanao who handle the cases filed against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno.
Moreno's critics were not happy when the CA earlier issued temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the Ombudsman’s dismissal order which found Moreno, along with former city treasurer Glen Bañez, of having committed grave misconduct for entering into an alleged illegal tax settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines.
Guialani, an outspoken Moreno critic, publicly stated that the TROs issued by the CA were "bought".
Atoc sued the CA's TRO-issuing body Special Division, composed of Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul Inting, Edgardo Camello, and Pablito Perez, with an administrative complaint.
Atoc faulted them for the issuance of the TRO, charging the justices with "gross ignorance of the law, gross violation of the Lawyer's Oath, Code of Professional Ethics, and Code of Judicial Ethics, grave abuse of authority, gross misconduct, manifest partiality, and gross violation of Sections 4 (a,b,c)of the Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and gross violation of Section 3 (e) of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act."
In its July 25, 2017 decision, the SC dismissed Atoc's complaint, citing that Atoc had "no clear interest in the filing of the case against the three justices".
It also ruled that the issuance of the TRO was a judicial issue and not a proper subject of an administrative case.
"Most importantly, the Court held that, there being no ill motive or any bad faith show, justices Inting, Camello, and Perez acted within their power," the resolution added.
In the same resolution, the SC also dismissed another administrative complaint against Justice Camello, for issuing the TRO and the writ of preliminary injunction, and for refusing to inhibit from the case.
Guialani had earlier asked the CA to inhibit Justice Camello, whom he accused of bias.
The High Court said that Guialani's administrative case was not the proper remedy to challenge the validity of the TRO, and instead advised Guialani, that he should have resorted to judicial recourse, by filing a motion for reconsideration or the appropriate petition, to challenge the TRO.
"Where judicial remedies exist, the filing of an administrative case was not the proper remedy," the SC pointed out.
"To date, all three administrative cases filed by Guialani and Ato which made the bases for the three initial preliminary inquiries against Justices Camello, Inting, Perez, Badelles, Atal-Pano, have been dismissed by the Supreme Court for utter lack of merit," it added.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 08, 2017.