Court junks case vs Taguig mayor

9

The Sandiganbayan threw out the case filed against Taguig City Mayor Laarni Cayetano and City Administrator Jose Montales for lack of probable cause.

Advertisements

The Office of the Ombudsman filed a complaint against Cayetano, the wife of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, and Montales for allegedly preventing the meeting of city council members in 2010 by padlocking the session hall.

But the anti-graft court’s First Division said there was no sufficient evidence to prove hold the mayor for trial.

“Indeed, there is no probable cause to believe that the accused committed the offense charged to justify the issuance of warrants of arrest,’” it said.

The court found that the acts of Cayetano and Montales belied the allegations that they prevented the Sangguniang Panlungsod from holding its session.

“With the three-day notice and an invitation for suggestion, it is hard to believe that the accused meant to prevent the holding of the session of the SP on August 16, 2010. If the intention of the accused was to prevent the SP from holding its session, the accused would not have bothered to inform the SP and its Members and attempted to elicit some inputs from them, which could have likely frustrated the supposed aim of the accused to prevent the SP from conducting its session,” it said.

The court was referring to an August 13, 2010 letter received by the complainants wherein Montales informed them of the repair and reassignment of offices in the City Hall starting August 16.

The court also said Montales offered the biggest room in the City Auditorium where city council members could hold sessions.

“To the mind of the Court, these are well-meaning acts and gestures purposely to allow the SP to proceed with its session, although in a different room. Again, had the accused meant to prevent the SP from holding its session, they should not have bothered to provide the SP an alternative venue, newly-painted at that and complete with the amenities of a session hall, including the sound system, and made sure that the public was informed of the new venue,” it said.

Associate Justice Efren De la Cruz, who leads the court’s First Division, penned the ruling which was concurred in by Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos.

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

9 Comments

  1. wala namang talagang dapat litisin ee, ee sa wala namang talagang nagawang mali si mayor lani! tsaka sobrang tagal na po nyan! bat pa kasi hinahalungkat!

  2. For the information of the bloggers:

    Read Atty Salumbides et al vs. Ombudsman, G.R. no. 180917 promulgated by the Supreme Court on April 23, 2010.” This is one of the last decisions written by former Justice Carpio-Morales now, the Ombudsman herself. While the petitioners prayer for the extension of the “doctrine of condonation” was rejected because it can only be available to elective officials, Carpio-Morales asserted the doctrine of condonation and cited several cases to wit:

    “More than 60 years ago, the Court in Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija17c?a issued the landmark ruling that prohibits the disciplining of an elective official for a wrongful act committed during his immediately preceding term of office. The Court explained that “[t]he underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor.”18c?a

    The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elect[e]d a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults or misconduct[,] to practically overrule the will of the people.19c?a

    Lizares v. Hechanova, et al.20c?a replicated the doctrine. The Court dismissed the petition in that case for being moot, the therein petitioner “having been duly reelected, is no longer amenable to administrative sanctions.”21c?a

    Ingco v. Sanchez, et al.22c?a clarified that the condonation doctrine does not apply to a criminal case.23c?a Luciano v. The Provincial Governor, et al.,24c?a Olivarez v. Judge Villaluz,25c?a and Aguinaldo v. Santos26echoed the qualified rule that reelection of a public official does not bar prosecution for crimes committed by him prior thereto.

    Consistently, the Court has reiterated the doctrine in a string of recent jurisprudence including two cases involving a Senator and a Member of the House of Representatives.27c?a

    Salalima v. Guingona, Jr.28c?a and Mayor Garcia v. Hon. Mojica29reinforced the doctrine. The condonation rule was applied even if the administrative complaint was not filed before the reelection of the public official, and even if the alleged misconduct occurred four days before the elections, respectively. Salalima did not distinguish as to the date of filing of the administrative complaint, as long as the alleged misconduct was committed during the prior term, the precise timing or period of which Garcia did not further distinguish, as long as the wrongdoing that gave rise to the public
    official’s culpability was committed prior to the date of reelection.” (end of quote)

    Did Morales forgot her recent decision before she left the Supreme Court? Why did she reasserted the “doctrine of condonation” as to elective officials when she was still a member of the Supreme Court yet now, conveniently urged the Supreme Court to revisit the time honored doctrine (60 years)? For convenience?

    Are you saying that the Supreme Court was consistently wrong in a string of several cases for 60 years reiterating the said doctrine and you are the only one correct Sereno? Are you saying that Capio-Morales was also wrong considering that the decision penned by Carpio-Morales was decided by a “court en banc”?

    “As for San Pedro, his administrative liability was rendered moot and academic owing to his reelection in the same position in 2010,” she said, referring to a Supreme Court doctrine that condones the administrative liability of an elected public official for a past offense once that official is reelected for a fresh term.