THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed a Manila City court decision in connection with the indictment of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairman Efraim Genuino’s son, Erwin, for violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees over a multimillion-peso deal for the 2008 movie “Baler.”
In an 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Manuel Barrios and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, the CA’s 12th Division dismissed an appeal filed by Pagcor seeking reversal of the Omnibus Resolution of Presiding Judge Janice Yulo-Antero of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 16, granting the petition for certiorari filed by Genuino.
Antero ordered Judge Jorge Emmanuel Lorredo to inhibit himself from further acting in the criminal case against Genuino that was pending before his sala, Branch 26 of Manila’s Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC).
According to the CA, the case has already been forwarded to the Office of the Clerk of Court for re-raffle to another branch, making the issues raised moot and academic.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales earlier found conflict of interest on the part of Erwin, Pagcor executive assistant and also the executive producer of “Baler,” a movie production between Viva Communications and Batas Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation.
It was alleged that Pagcor facilities and resources were used in the post-production and promotion of the movie, making Erwin administratively liable.
The Ombudsman found out that Pagcor bought 89,000 movie tickets for “Baler” at P300 each or a total of P26.7 million, which, according to the anti-graft office, was contrary to the scheme approved by the state agency that was supposed to only offer movie tickets to casino patrons via the player tracking points.
In junking Pagcor’s appeal, the CA in its August 12, 2015 decision but was released to the media just recently held that the MeTC confirmed that the case has in fact been re-raffled to Branch 1 of the MeTC.
“The particular prayer in this appeal, which is to reverse the Omnibus Resolution of the RTC dated February 17, 2014, assuming that the same is granted, can no longer enforced as Judge Lorredo has already forwarded the subject case to the Office of the Clerk of Court of the MeTC of Manila, and the Executive Judge of the MeTC of Manila has already ordered that the case be included for re-raffle to another branch,” the ruling pointed out.
The CA further opined that “[a]court will not determine moot question or abstract proposition, nor express an opinion in a case in which no practical relief can be granted.”