MANILA — The Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed on Monday the motion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking to suspend the hearing of the petition filed by suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
Assistant Solicitor General Hermes Ocampo told the CA Sixth Division that the hearing should be suspended out of “judicial courtesy” because the petition of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) questioning the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the CA against the “immediately executory” six-month preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman against Binay is still pending before the Supreme Court (SC).
The OSG expressed apprehension that the case before the SC may be declared as “moot and academic” if the court proceedings at the CA will continue on Monday afternoon.
However, the CA decided to proceed with the oral argument because the SC did not issue a TRO and denied the motion of the OSG as well.
CA Sixth Division Presiding Justice Jose Reyes, ponente or writer of the decision in the case, said that there is no more “strong probability” that the case of the Ombudsman at the SC will become “moot” if the hearing on Monday afternoon will continue.
Reyes added that if they will not continue with the proceedings, the same may be used as basis of an administrative case against the CA magistrates.
The oral argument is tackling the writ of preliminary injunction filed by the camp of Binay seeking to extend the TRO against the implementation of the suspension order against the mayor.
The CA will also hear the petition of Binay seeking to cite for contempt Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima for alleged defiance of the TRO issued by the CA Sixth Division.
According to CA Sixth Division Presiding Justice Jose Reyes, they denied the motion of the OSG based on Rule 65, Section 7 of the Rules of Court wherein a petition cannot block a principal case except when a TRO or a writ of preliminary injunction is issued against a respondent in relation to the proceeding of the case.
The oral argument at the CA is now ongoing where the writ of preliminary injunction filed by the camp of Mayor Binay against the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman against him is being heard.
Both camps are given 20 minutes each to present their respective arguments.
However, Mayor Binay failed to appear in the hearing, hence, he was represented by his sister, Makati City Rep. Abegail Binay, as well as his law firm, the Certeza Law Office.
The Ombudsman imposed the “immediately executory” six-month preventive suspension on Binay and 22 others for graft and plunder cases in connection with the alleged “overpriced” construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.