A third justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) has inhibited himself from handling the suspension case of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando begged off from the case since his wife, Cherry Hernando, is connected with the Office of the Ombudsman as graft investigation officer.
He was replaced by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda.
The realignment would place Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier as the chairman of the Special Ninth Division with Associate Justice Melchor Sadang as the other member.
Javier, however, took a leave of absence from Monday until August 3.
Associate Justice Nina Antonio Valenzuela will substitute for Javier as member of the special division in an acting capacity while Sadang will temporarily head the division.
Binay had petitioned the CA to stop the Office of the Ombudsman from implementing its order to preventively suspend him from office in connection with his alleged participation in the allegedly anomalous construction of the Makati Science High School Building.
Hernando said he has consistently inhibited himself from all cases where the Office of the Ombudsman is involved.
“The undersigned has consistently recused himself from participating in cases involving the Office of the Ombudsman, the reason being his wife’s professional employment as Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer in said office,” he added.
“This event compels me to inhibit once more, this time in the subject case in order to maintain fair and objective proceedings in said case,” Hernando said.
He was supposed to head the Ninth Division after Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla recused herself.
Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo earlier inhibited from the case because her husband is a relative of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, who is also among the respondents in Binay’s petition.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government was designated by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to implement the suspension order against the Makati mayor.