3 SC justices keep posts in House electoral body

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The Supreme Court (SC) has junked a plea of Rep. Regina Ongsiangko Reyes of Marinduque to disqualify its three justices as members of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) where she is facing a disqualification case.

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The SC en banc on Tuesday ruled to deny the petition of Reyes for failing to show any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

The plea dated August 18, 2014 wanted to disqualify Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin from membership in the HRET and to replace them with other SC associate justices.

It was thrown out because it “sought the wrong remedy and that, in any event, there was no grave abuse of discretion alleged nor shown.”

In her 23-page petition, Reyes, through lawyer Harry Roque Jr., cited alleged conflict of interest on the part of Justice Velasco since his son, former Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, stands to benefit should the HRET uphold the younger Velasco’s protest against her.

Justice Velasco, the current HRET chairman, has inhibited himself in the proceedings of the tribunal as well as in the proceedings of the High Court involving his son’s case.
He was succeeded by Peralta.

Reyes said while the SC justice has recused himself from the case, the other HRET members continue interacting with him and “thereby not shielded from his influence.”

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