CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno ignored the Supreme Court's internal rules when she acted on the motion related to the Maute cases, a Supreme Court personnel said Wednesday, December 6.
Supreme Court Clerk of Court Felipa Anama told the House committee on justice at the resumption of the hearing on the impeachment complaint against the chief justice that the request of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for the Supreme Court to transfer the trial of the rebellion cases filed against members of the ISIS-inspired Maute group outside Mindanao did not undergo raffle proceedings.
Anama said the request was included in the list of administrative matters to be raffled off on June 19, but the raffle committee struck it down as it has already been acted upon by the Chief Justice on June 6, thereby assuming that she is the member in charge of the matter.
"May raffle nung June 19. Andun po talaga yun sa list kaya lang nung dumating sa case na yun, dahil siya (Sereno) na po nag-aksyon dun so sa kanya na po yun," Anama said.
Under Rule 7 Section 1 of the SC Internal Rules, cases should be raffled among the members of the en banc.
The member in charge shall oversee the progress and disposition of the cases.
Section 6 of the said rule also states that the case should only pass raffle if the petition is a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or an urgent or extraordinary writ such as the writ of habeas corpus and amparo.
Lawmakers said the request of the justice secretary on the transfer of the venue of the court does not fall under these exemptions, therefore, it should have been raffled off.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon is accusing Sereno of culpable violation of the constitution for allegedly delaying the release of the resolution on the request of the justice department.
Gadon alleged that Sereno assigned the case to Assoiciate Justice Noel Tijam, but after Tijam's draft circulated and was received favorably by the other justices, Sereno "caused the matter to be assigned to her, all in disregard of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court."
"Notwithstanding the extreme urgency of the situation, Respondent Sereno delayed the issuance and release of the resolution granting reconsideration because she failed to get a majority vote on her desire to keep the Maute cases and similar cases in Cagayan de Oro, to the detriment of the administration of justice," Gadon said in his complaint.
Aguirre earlier expressed disappointment over the "long delay" of the Court's resolution, considering the danger to the lives of the judges and prosecutors handling the cases of the Maute members in Cagayan de Oro.
The SC ordered the transfer of the cases from Cagayan de Oro to Taguig Regional Trial Court on July 18 two months after Aguirre requested it on May 29, six days after the President ordered the imposition of martial law in Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)