• Justices push revocation of party-list TRO

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    Associate justices of the Supreme Court (SC) will move to nullify the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno stopping the proclamation of party-list groups.

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    At least seven justices believe that the “tampered resolution” issued by Sereno stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from proclaiming the final five winning party-list groups was erroneous and should be revoked.

    Several justices told The Manila Times that they will confront the Chief Justice over the issuance of a “blanket TRO” upon the resumption of the en banc session on Tuesday.

    Sereno was also denounced by her colleagues in December last year for reopening the Regional Court Administrative Office in Region 7 without the approval of the en banc. Her order was eventually revoked.

    The chief justice drew flak last week for tampering with the recommended resolution of Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro to the petition for relief filed by the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines.

    The justices said Sereno revised de Castro’s ponencia and released it without first consulting the en banc.

    The chief justice was also accused of violating the 24-hour policy in which all the justices must be furnished with the draft ponencia and allowed to study it 24 hours before it shall be released and promulgated.

    The source said at least seven justices of the High Court are not in favor of the resolution issued by Sereno stopping the Comelec from proclaiming the remaining party-list groups.

    The justices maintained that Sereno erred when she issued a “blanket TRO” that covered other party-list groups since it was only the Senior Citizens Coalition that filed the petition.

    In the original draft ponencia of De Castro, the TRO is limited only to the granting of relief to the plea of petitioner Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, which was disqualified by the Comelec for having a term-sharing agreement for their two sets of nominees.

    After the TRO was issued, De Castro immediately wrote Sereno, protesting the tampering on her draft resolution.

    “This omission only came to my attention today, May 29, 2013, when my office was furnished a copy of said TRO as released by the OCJ (Office of the Chief Justice). The said omission radically changed my recommended action that would have preserved the status quo ante, i.e. to maintain the petitioner in the registry of party-list associations, pending disposition of the merits of the case,” De Castro said in her letter to Sereno.

    The senior citizens’ party list, despite its disqualification, got 671, 916 votes which may qualify it for two seats in the House of Representatives.

    In her three page resolution, Sereno ordered the Comelec not to proclaim the remaining party-list groups vying for the five remaining slots.

    Aside from the Senior Citizens’ partly-list, the poll body also disqualified the Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Abang Lingkod, Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka para sa mga Magsasaka, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance Inc. Ang Galing Pinoy, Atong Paglaum Inc., Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka, Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency and The True Marcos Loyalist Association of the Philippines Inc.

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