Justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) have been caught in the crossfire of apparent political and legal wars between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
It seemed, though, that Binay has gained the upperhand with the CA magistrates.
One of them has told The Manila Times that they in the appellate court realize that it would not be wise for them to “antagonize a future President,” also apparently referring to the Vice President.
The CA justices are dealing with two controversial cases involving Binay and his son and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
Whatever ruling on the two cases they arrive at, according to The Times source, would not sit well with the Binay and Roxas camps.
One case involves a petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) with the CA seeking to inspect bank accounts of the Vice President and his family and their businesses.
The other is a plea of the Makati mayor for a temporary restraining order (TRO) seeking to stop a preventive suspension order imposed on him by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and members of the 10 divisions of the Court of Appeals handling the AMLC case convened for a “special meeting” after The Manila Times broke the AMLC story.
Another CA magistrate also told The Times that the expose has had a “chilling effect” on them because the case involved a “future” leader of the country.
Still another source of The Manila Times said still another justice of the appellate court had suggested that it is better to revise the Rules of the CA and to release via per curiam (by the court) decisions on all AMLC cases without naming the ponente of the rulings.
A resolution for examination of the Binays’ bank accounts was signed and penned by Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta under the Special 6th Division of the CA.
The AMLC case against the Binay family and their businesses had caused several inhibitions by justices of the appellate court.
The CA is expected to rule on the TRO petition of the Makati mayor on Monday and Roxas, as DILG secretary, is supposed to carry out whatever decision the court comes up with.
Last Friday, the case was already raffled off, with Justice Jose Reyes to act as chairman and ponente of the case.
Reyes belongs to the 6th Division of the CA, whose members are Justices Francisco Acosta as senior member and Eduardo Peralta as junior member.
Yet another justice of the appellate court also told The Times that the case of the Makati mayor has caught them between “the devil and the deep blue sea.”
“If the CA 6th Division will issue a TRO in favor of Mayor Binay, it will make [Vice President] Binay happy, but it will antagonize [Roxas]. On the other hand, if there is no TRO, it will make Roxas happy and will antagonize Binay,” the source said.
Roxas and the elder Binay have been reported to be eyeing the presidency in the May 2016 elections.
Binay won against Roxas in the race for the vice presidency in the May 2010 polls.
The source said it would be a gamble for them to place their money on Binay or Roxas, specially because the next President of the Philippines will have majority of appointees in the Supreme Court.
“Sino bang CA justice ang hindi nangangarap na maging Supreme Court justice [Who among us is not dreaming to become a Supreme Court justice]?” the source asked.