Marikina judge asked to inhibit from port case

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A MARIKINA City (Metro Manila) judge handling a controversial case involving Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) has been asked to inhibit from proceedings for his alleged lack of objectivity.

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Businessman Michael Romero and his lawyers on Thursday filed a motion for inhibition with motion to suspend the proceedings against Judge Felix Reyes of the Marikina Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 272 for his alleged bias and partiality in handling the case filed by former Harbour Centre Port corporate secretary Mario Saycon against Romero and other corporate officers.

They said they “have completely lost their trust and faith that they would still get justice and fair treatment in the instant case so long as the presiding judge, Honorable Felix Reyes, is at the helm of this case.”

Romero said during the June 11, 2015 hearing on the application for preliminary injunction, the parties were given time to file simultaneously their memorandums until June 17.

On June 16, however, they were surprised when Reyes issued an order dated June 15 asking Harbour Centre’s corporate secretary Ramil Mendoza to submit documents regarding the approval, ratification and confirmation of corporate documents submitted in court.

In their motion, Romero and his lawyers said Reyes’ order was issued after both parties had rested their cases regarding an injunction issue, after they had filed their formal offers of evidence and after an application for injunction is already ripe for resolution by the court.

“Worse and far more indicative of the disconcerting and undue interest which Judge Felix Reyes appears to have in this case [is that]he issued the order motu proprio” or in his own initiative only, they added.

The order, according to the motion, was uncalled for and not requested by either Saycon or Romero “and is a thinly veiled attempt by Judge Reyes to create additional issues where there are none.”

“The issuance of this highly unusual and motu proprio order has concretized the defendants’ suspicion of bias and prejudice against them by Judge Reyes,” Romero and his lawyers’ motion said.

It added that Romero and his lawyers are suspicious on why Reyes raised the issue on the validity of the secretary’s certificates when it was not raised by Saycon and the validity of the documents itself is not the issue in the case.

By issuing the order, according to the motion, Reyes has unilaterally expanded the scope and coverage of Saycon’s prayer to include the ruling on the added issue about the “validity” of the Amended General Information Sheet for 2012 and secretary’s certificates.

They said the issuance of the order only deepened their suspicion on the partiality of Reyes as his orders appears to dovetail smoothly with the rumors that, through him, the group of Reghis Romero–Michael’s father–will succeed in what they have been unable to do: Declare null and void some corporate documents of the Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. over and beyond Saycon’s prayer in the complaint.

The Manila Times tried to interview Reyes but he refused to give comments on the issue.

According to his staff, the judge will answer all allegations in due time.

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