• Intrigue-sowing judges behind ‘Arlene’ controversy

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    Standing (from left): Justice Mariflor Castillo, Deputy Court Administrator Jenny Lind Delorino, Justice Socorro Inting, and Justice Zenaida Laguilles. Seated (from left): Justice Teresita de Castro, Justice Jane Lantion, Judge Freddie Balonzo (retired), Arlene Lerma, Cora Paneda (wife of Quezon City RTC Judge Jose Paneda), and Pasay RTC Judge Divinagracia Peliño.

    Standing (from left): Justice Mariflor Castillo, Deputy Court Administrator Jenny Lind Delorino, Justice Socorro Inting, and Justice Zenaida Laguilles. Seated (from left): Justice Teresita de Castro, Justice Jane Lantion, Judge Freddie Balonzo (retired), Arlene Lerma, Cora Paneda (wife of Quezon City RTC Judge Jose Paneda), and Pasay RTC Judge Divinagracia Peliño.

    A group of judges who lost in the last Philippine Judges Association (PJA) elections was reportedly sowing intrigues against fellow magistrates by disseminating photos of judges and justices with the controversial “Arlene,” the woman reputed to fix court cases.

    A highly reliable source in the judiciary told The Manila Times a defeated candidate in the PJA polls circulated the pictures of magistrates posing with Arlene Lerma taken at a celebration for the retiring Deputy Court Administrator Antonio Eugenio in Manila last year.

    The source said a losing candidate from Metro Manila handed the picture to a provincial judge who was also defeated in the elections. Copies of the photo were distributed to other judiciary officials and the media.

    The defeated PJA judges are said to enjoy the backing of a big law firm.

    The candidates for the PJA presidency were Judge Ralph Lee of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Judge Rommel Baybay of the Makati RTC and Judge Felix Reyes of the Marikina RTC. Lee won the elections.

    Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen headed the committee looking into the “Arlene” issue.

    The source said the Leonen committee is investigating Lerma and one Arlene Frias from the Court of Appeals.

    The Times tried to reach Frias but she refused to answer the phone or reply to text messages. Lerma is out of the country.

    In a statement, Eugenio, a former Manila RTC Judge, admitted that the photo was taken during his retirement on November 20, 2012. He defended his fellow magistrates who were in the photos.

    “The photo was taken during my retirement celebration of November 20, 2012. I was a prosecutor for eight years and a judge for 16 years before being promoted Deputy Court Administrator. During all those years, I developed many friendships among my peers. I have known them from way back even before they became justices,” Eugenio said.

    He said he first met Lerma through Vice Mayor Isko Moreno of Manila.

    Eugenio said he sought the assistance of Moreno in 2007 “when I became the first Manila Judge to be elected President of the Philippine Judges Association.”

    Lerma “was always tasked by the Vice Mayor to give a helping hand to judges. In 2009, I was re-elected so each time I would ask for assistance from the Vice Mayor, the latter would instruct Arlene to take care of the matter for him. So Arlene and I became friends,” he said.

    “Those who impute malice are simply malicious,” Eugenio said.

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    6 Comments

    1. Fernando Habito on

      These judges winners or losers in what they called “Philippine Judges Association” are the contributors of making the dysfunctional justice system of the country.They blown this issue to the media for photo opportunity just to show they are working hard for their “Money”Better check their SALN some of them got million of assets like Ex CJ Corona who got Millions of US dollars and Pesos in Assets using their position’s influence and government connections.

    2. Rosauro Feliciano on

      Definitely we are tired of hearing endless accusations from our various government institutions because not one person has been brought to face a court hearing. All these news about corruptions are slowly becoming just innuendos to our people or to make it more understandable, allusions as it might eventually appear because not one has been brought to court and put behind bars if convicted; yes NOT ONE. The Philippines becomes comparable to a grade school pupil who is not doing well in school, and so the child does foolishness in order to get attention. In like manner our government institutions are enjoying the freedom of expression but without recognizing that they have the obligation to recognize that their freedom has limitation in a sense that whoever is implicated he/she must have to have the right to answer in defense to end the scenarios so only then those involved-government institutions will be rightfully recognized; otherwise they will be falsely recognized. Is this true or not? Let us debate on this if anyone please.

    3. what are the rewards given to the president of the PJA, if any? may pera ba dyan? or just a desire to lead?

    4. Its good they have shown her picture & sort of reported her, but the sad thing is if they hadnt lost their seats they would keep quiet. They are just as corrupt as the rst of them. We are going through this filipino mentality thing in our home owneres association elections. I hate the filipino way where you do a favour for someone & you will get voted for. Now if it was a normal favour like helping fix a broken car or something but not a corrupt favour. For instance a councillor lives on my sub division & he had an altercation with the guards at the gate & it was caught on security camera & he asked the hoa member in charge of the guards to erase the tape & he did. Now he was then removed from the hoa but up til now he denies telling the guards to erase the tape but he did it we know 100%. Now he spreads lies & stupid acusations against fair minded people, its that pinoy attitude thats ruined this country up to now & will continue to ruin this country. It will take many years & generations to remove it as its there from the top to the bottom of this corrupt society.

    5. From a distance, outside the country, the reputation of the Philippines as a corrupt country is an old issue. One begin to wonder, how a poor country can overcome these notorieties, and you add the calamities on top of these, you have a perfect scenario for civil disturbance. I hope the younger generation will not emulate the bad influence of their elders, grand parents, parents who are known thieves and among others, I hope with God’s grace a change of heart for most will happen so one day, the country can grow to build a respected, and progressive country.