SC spokesman sees petitions consolidated
AN appointee of President Aquino in the Supreme Court will be evaluating the petition of Rep. Gloria Arroyo or her husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo questioning the issuance by the Department of Justice of an order placing them under the Bureau of Immigration’s watch list order.
The petitions were raffled off yesterday, and one of them went to Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, according to sources.
But it is possible that the two petitions will be consolidated into one, said court spokesman Midas Marquez.
Reyes, in September, joined the rest of the 15-man tribunal in junking a petition filed by Mike Arroyo questioning the watch-list order issued on him in connection with alleged anomalous purchase of PNP helicopters.
Reyes is the second of three Aquino appointees to the high court. The other two are Maria Lourdes Sereno and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
Reyes, before joining government service, worked under Aquino as finance manager of Best Security Agency Inc., which the latter set up when his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, was still in Malacañang.
The cases will be heard by the Court en banc next Tuesday when regular session resumes.
“The two justices-in-charge to whom those two cases are raffled are expected to come up with their preliminary assessment of those two petitions. Then they can come up with a recommendation to the Chief Justice if a TRO should be issued before Tuesday,” Marquez said.
Chief Justice Renato Corona cannot yet exercise his power to motu propio issue a TRO. He is in San Francisco, California and won’t be back until Thursday or Friday.
Corona in two instances since he assumed the top judicial post did use his TRO powers without consultation with other justices – in the cases of the privatization of Angat Dam and the implementation of the 12 percent expanded value added tax (eVAT) being collected in tollways.
Marquez said it is up to the justices-in-charge to decide whether to recommend the consolidation of the two cases because they involve the same set of facts and issues.
“The practice has always been that we give the justices-in-charge the courtesy to come up with his or her own recommendation. Pag titignan mo yung rules, any justice of the SC can (issue a TRO), but the practice has always been that the justice-in-charge only recommends to the chair of a court division or to the chief justice. If there is no TRO issued before Tuesday, the Court en banc can decide on Tuesday whether or not a TRO should be issued,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Arroyos filed separate petitions questioning the legality of the watch list orders (WLOs) issued by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the ground that it violates their basic rights to liberty and to travel.
The Arroyos likewise assailed the Department Circular No. 41 which De Lima said she used as basis for using became the basis of de Lima in issuing the WLOs.
De Lima rejected the former President’s request for the issuance of an allow-departure order, saying the purpose of Arroyo’s travel is suspect and there seemed to be no compelling reason for her to leave the country to seek treatment.
Arroyo was placed under the BI’s watch list in connection with the three plunder and election sabotage charges against her, which are still undergoing preliminary investigation.
Mike Arroyo was slapped with a WLO in connection with an election sabotage case filed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III for allegedly rigging the 2007 senatorial polls.