SEN. Antonio Trillanes 4th on Monday accused Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta of receiving P25 million each in exchange for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction that stopped the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) from implementing the preventive suspension order against Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun Jun” Binay.
The CA was quick to deny the senator’s claim.
Trillanes asked the Senate committee on justice and human rights to investigate, in aid of legislation, the alleged system of “justice for sale” in the judiciary, particularly at the CA.
In his resolution, the senator cited the issuance of the TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction issued by the CA’s Sixth Division in favor of Binay. The division is headed by Reyes with Acosta and Justice Eduardo Peralta Jr. as members.
“Serious allegations have recently surfaced that the Binay camp paid off certain CA justices to rule in their favor. According to reliable sources privy to the matter, a lawyer by the name of Pancho Villaraza facilitated the transaction and talked to Associate Justices Reyes and Acosta, and each of them allegedly received P20 million for the TRO they issued,” Trillanes said in his resolution.
He alleged that the two justices received P20 million each for the TRO issued on March 16, 2015. But because the Ombudsman and the DILG refused to recognize the TRO, another transaction was made and the two justices each received an additional P5 million upon the issuance of the preliminary injunction.
The senator noted that Villaraza is a known political operator with deep links to politicians and members of the judiciary and the prosecution service and is currently supporting the presidential campaign of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Reyes, chairman of the CA’s Sixth Division, said Trillanes’ allegations are unfounded. He gave assurances that the case will be decided “on the basis of law and evidence.”
In a statement, Reyes denied that he “received money, favor or promise in exchange for the Division’s issuances.”
Acosta also said there is no “iota of truth” in the bribery allegations hurled against him.
“The temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were issued by the Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals, acting as a collegiate body, after observing a meticulous, impartial and judicious evaluation of prevailing laws, jurisprudence and evidence presented by the parties,” Reyes said.
“Baseless accusations constitute harassment that seek to threaten magistrates in our bounden duty to discharge justice based on fairness, impartiality and the rule of law, and undermines the integrity of the judiciary as an institution and weakens the people’s faith in our legal processes,” he added, noting that the judiciary should not be involved in partisan politics.