Over strong moves to recuse himself from the case of Kang Tae Sik, a South Korean businessman who was ordered arrested and deported by Justice Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Court of Appeals Justice Apolinario Bruselas instead ordered Kang’s former lawyer, Alex Tan, to file a comment on a motion for inhibition.
Redentor Viaje, Kang’s lawyer, assailed the order to deport Kang, whom he said had been doing business in the country for 38 years.
Kang was arrested and detained by Immigration agents last month on orders of Aguirre.
The motion for inhibition was filed by the businessman after Brusuelas refused to act on the prayer for issuance of TRO (temporary restraining order) against Aguirre.
Under the 1999 CA Rules, if the petition includes a prayer for issuance of TRO, it should immediately be ruled upon.
The imminent arrest of Kang was announced by Aguirre during a Senate hearing last February 23 this year on the brutal kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Viaje said Bruselas is one of the five aspirants for associate justice of the Supreme Court nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) wherein Aguirre, one of the respondents in Kang’s petition, is a member.
Final selection of the SC nominees shall be made by Malacanang.
To remove any suspicion of “fear and favor,” Viaje said, Bruselas should inhibit himself, considering that his appointment to the SC is literally at the mercy of Duterte administration officials who are the respondents in the case, and that the case before him is like the sword of Damocles hanging over his head.
The case was reraffled to Buzuelas on April 3, 2017 after Justice Elihu Ybanez inhibited himself on ground that Tan was his classmate in San Beda College.
Viaje said they have learned that Tan, Ybanez, Aguirre and Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Paras were classmates in San Beda College.
Kang’s petition for the TRO was filed on March 27, 2017.
In his petition, he asked the CA to stop the DOJ and Bureau of Immigration from implementing the deportation order against him and the dissolution of the warrant of deportation because both emanated from a void resolution.
On March 7, 2017, Aguirre in a resolution, reversed the decision of the DOJ dismissing the deportation complaint filed against Kang.
Kang was also arrested and ordered deported in October 2015 when Sen. Leila de Lima was the Justice secretary.
Tan filed the deportation case against Kang when the latter refused to relinquish his import business or pay P50 million “peace offering” to a Korean-Filipino group that wanted to take over Kang’s wine import business.
The deportation order against Kang was reversed by then-Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
The Immigration bureau did not file a motion for reconsideration, thus rendering Caguioa’s decision final and executory.
But Aguirre revived the case and gave due course to the motion for reconsideration of Tan.
Aguirre told a Senate hearing that a certain Kang Tae Sik is the head of a Korean mafia.
Viaje said his client was implicated in Jee’s kidnap-slay to get rid of the latter.