SC won’t remove 3 justices in HRET

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SUPREME Court (SC) Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin remain as members of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), the constitutional body tasked to settle disputes at the congressional level.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said the petition filed by Marinduque Representative Regina Reyes, who is facing three disqualification cases at the HRET, was junked by the justices in their regular session on Tuesday.

The Court noted that the petition “sought the wrong remedy and that, in any event, there was no grave abuse of discretion alleged or shown.”

"We will continue to seek redress to ensure level playing field, both in the SC (filing of a motion for reconsideration) and in HRET," said Reyes’ lawyer Harry Roque in reaction to the SC decision.

Velasco has inhibited himself from the case—both in the SC and the HRET—but Reyes said he must leave the electoral tribunal since his continued stay has become untenable.

Velasco, the head of the tribunal whose son, former Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco, benefited from last year's SC ruling that disqualified Reyes as a candidate in the May 2013 polls for being an American citizen.

The younger Velasco lost his seat to Reyes by around 4,000 votes.

Reyes accused Bersamin, a member of a political family in Abra, of prejudging her case by voting with the majority in last year's SC decision.

Peralta, meanwhile, allegedly allowed the petition for intervention filed by a certain Victor Vela Sioco, which she said should have been dismissed for not paying the required docket fees.

Peralta is the chair of the proceedings against Reyes. (Sunnex)

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