A recent ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) citing Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th for indirect contempt was a reiteration of “the importance of respect for the rule of law and a co-equal branch of government,” according to the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“It [ruling]emphasizes the importance of civility and decency in public discourse,” it said.
“More important, the [CA] ruling is a reminder that not even a member of Congress can abuse the privileges reposed on him by the electorate to malign and bully personalities and destroy the reputation and integrity of institutions,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) communications director Joey Salgado noted.
In a 15-page resolution, the court’s Special 11th Division on Monday said Trillanes’ disclosure last year that the camp of then Makati City (Metro Manila) Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay gave P25 million each to two magistrates of the CA’s Sixth Division in exchange for the release of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and subsequently stopped the suspension imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Binay for being baseless.
The decision penned by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz also ordered Trillanes to pay the CA P30,000 as a fine for his accusation against the two justices of the 6th Division.
Associate Justices Myra Garcia-Fernandez and Melchor Sadang concurred with Cruz’s ruling.
Mayor Binay went to the CA to legally stop the decision of the Ombudsman to boot him out as mayor of Makati City.
Corruption charges against him stemmed from the supposedly anomalous construction of Makati City Hall Building 2.
Trillanes, who was at the forefront of the Senate investigation of supposedly massive graft and corruption activities of the Binays headed by the Vice President, said the CA’s 6th Division issued a TRO because two of the justices were paid P25 million each by the mayor’s camp.
The senator, however, failed to prove his accusations.
The law that states that the members of Philippine Congress have immunity from suit as long as he is making allegations in connection with issues and concerns being tackled in the legislative body.
Cruz gave Trillanes 30 days to file his comment on the CA decision.
He said the senator should not file a “motion to dismiss” the contempt charges.
Mayor Binay was given five days to comment on the comment that will be filed by Trillanes.
Cruz told both parties that if they failed to file any “pleading,” the case would be declared as “submitted for resolution.”