CA justice won’t recuse on Taguig-Makati dispute

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ASSOCIATE Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison of the Court of Appeals (CA) has refused to recuse herself from handling the case on the territorial dispute between the Makati City and Taguig City governments over Fort Bonifacio.

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In a resolution penned by Gonzales-Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices Edwin Sorongon and Ramon Cruz, the CA’s Special Former Sixth Division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the city of Taguig.

The CA had ordered Taguig to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return the same to Makati.

The tribunal also confirmed that the area covering the “embo” barangays—Cembo, South Cembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Comembo, Pembo, among others—are within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati City, prompting Taguig to seek redress with the appellate court.

In its plea, Taguig claimed that the association of Gonzales-Sison’s husband with Vice President Jejomar Binay is a ground sufficient to cause the recusal of the ponente from participating in the case.

To prove its point, Taguig cited the damage suit filed by Binay against Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, which according to Taguig shows the political nature of the territorial dispute.

It once again echoed its suspicion that Gonzales-Sison decided the case as a form of a “political decision” in order to curry favor with Binay should the latter succeed in his presidential bid

In junking Taguig’s plea, Gonzales-Sison in her February 18, 2016 ruling that “the arguments raised are nothing but a duplication of the issues extensively covered in our resolution dated 16 September 2015.”

Gonzales-Sison held that the case has nothing to do with the
personalities involved more specifically the local officials of each respective cities.

“Even if we take pause at the imputation that local officials are a factor in this case, we cannot help but point that the City of Makati is no longer under the helm of a Binay but of Mayor Romulo V. Peña, Jr.,” the justice opined.

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