RETIRED Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, who was earlier ordered arrested in relation to a libel case filed against him, can now be prosecuted and the trial of his case may proceed before the Makati Regional Trial Court.
This, after the Court of Appeals 11th Division failed to issue a writ of preliminary injunction which would halt his arraignment and trial.
The October 1, 2013 temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the appellate court in favor of the former chief justice has already lapsed and was no longer extended and renewed.
The CA TRO lasted only for a 60-day period, or until November 30, 2013.
It was learned that the CA 11th Division cannot issue an injunction which would extend the life of the TRO because there was no hearing conducted as mandated by the Rules of Court.
Associate Justice Stephen Cruz, Chairman of the Division, is asking for a hearing on the propriety of the issuance of an injunction order which is mandated by law.
The ponente and Chairman of the Division, Associate Justice Magdangal De Leon, has yet to call for a hearing on the injunction case. The other member of the division is Associate Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez.
According a CA insider, Panganiban allegedly “lobbied” to get the TRO extended and to stop his arraignment by the Makati court. The source said Panganiban has been calling up Justices of the CA to save him from being arraigned by issuing a TRO for a period of 60-days.
Panganiban sought refuge from the appeals court to stop Makati RTC Branch 142 Judge Dina Pestano Teves from proceeding with the case.
The petition was filed in the CA by Panganiban co-accused, Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor in Chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc.
However, Panganiban was allegedly following-up his case after he was charged in court and was issued an arrest warrant.
This is in connection with the libel case filed by Marcos crony Herminio Disini against Panganiban for the alleged defamatory statements made by Panganiban in his column in the newspaper.
In a two-page Resolution of the CA 11th Division, dated October 1, penned by De Leon, the court issued a 60-day TRO in favor of the former chief justice and newspaper.
“In the meantime, so as not to render any decision on the merits of the petition moot and academic, a temporary restraining order is hereby issued, to be effective from service and for a period of 60 days, Enjoining the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 142, Makati City,” it says.
The TRO was issued enjoining the lower court “from conducting further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 13-2084 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Artemio V. Panganiban and Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, subject of the present petition.
When Panganiban is asking for his additional retirement benefits from the Supreme Court, an SC Justice told that The Manila Times that Panganiban has been calling up and lobbied with fellow SC Justices as well.
The case stemmed from Panganiban’s alleged irresponsible and malicious attack on Disini over the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
It all started on Disini’s lawyer, Jose Bernas, calling for Panganiban to correct his column on the BNPP entitled “After 35 Years, Still Languishing” which the Inquirer published on March 27, 2011. The letter to Panganiban was addressed to the newspaper.
Bernas stressed that if Panganiban will not correct his article, appropriate legal action awaits him for irresponsible attributions that intend to malign Disini’s s character.
It was pointed out that Panganiban’s use of the phrase “go-between” to describe Mr. Disini in the alleged BNPP deal portrayed him as evil and/or someone’s dummy.
Bernas questioned the assertion of Panganiban that the BNPP was constructed at US$2 billion and challenged him to quote the source of the information.
Bernas also questioned Panganibana’s statement attributing to Disini the decision to “abandon” or to otherwise not operate the BNPP. He added that Panganiban’s column was irresponsible because it does not mention an act or person to justify attribution to Disini.
He stressed that contrary to Panganiban’s aspersion, his client was a commercial agent and it was reckless for the former justice to portray his client with shady character without providing any reason for the portrayal.
The former chief justice’s aspersion over Disini started as early as 2003 when the former justice wrote the Decision in PCGG v. Desierto, et al., where he first exhibited his bent on attacking Disini.
In the said ruling said decision, Panganiban maliciously misquoted a mere opinion on an interlocutory motion rendered by the New Jersey Court on September 20, 1991 regarding the B NPP built by Westinghouse.
The decision dismissed the claim of the Republic of the Philippines that Westinghouse bribed former President Ferdinand Marcos through Disini. Mr.
Panganiban must have known or should have known that a decision was issued on 15 July 1993 in favor of Westinghouse, ten (10) years before his ponencia and 18 years before his column of 27 March 2011.“
He said that any responsible lawyer must verify first the status of a case he cites and would not have passed off a ruling or an opinon as a final or definitive decision, Bernas added.