CA junks government's bid to stop Binay's TRO hearing

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Monday, March 30, 2015

THE Court of Appeals (CA) Sixth Division denied on Monday a motion of the Office of Solicitor General to stop the hearing on the restraining order issued in favor of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr.

During the hearing, the OSG invoked judicial courtesy of an existing petition at the Supreme Court (SC) filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo said the SC petition questions the CA's temporary restraining order on Binay's six-month preventive suspension order in connection with a graft case.

The Ombudsman said that continuing with the CA proceedings would render moot and academic its petition at the SC.

Binay's legal counsel Claro Certeza manifested that there is no basis to suspend the proceedings. He cited Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, stating that the court can proceed with the principal case if no TRO was issued on a petition filed with a higher court.

"Since the petition before Supreme Court merely required the respondents to comment without asking upon the quested TRO, then pursuant to the Rules of Court, no reason for this court not to continue, with the proceedings," said Certeza.

Upon hearing the arguments from both sides, the Sixth Division ruled in favor of Binay's camp.

"It's cleared that unless a TRO or an injunction is issued, then the court is mandated to proceed with the principal case," said Associated Justice Jose Reyes said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) meanwhile requested to be excused from the case, saying it is merely a nominal party.

The DILG represented by the OSG said that it merely acted as an agent of the Ombudsman in serving the latter's preventive suspension order on Binay who is being investigated for graft related to the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

In its petition at the SC, the Ombudsman mentioned that the suspension order had been issued on Binay prior to the CA's issuance of the TRO.

Binay's plea for a writ of preliminary injunction has been submitted for resolution while oral arguments on the Makati mayor's contempt plea will be heard on Tuesday. (Sunnex)

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