SC asked: Continue trial of Mathay children

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The Supreme Court (SC) was urged to enforce the arrest warrants issued against the children of former Quezon City Mayor Ismael Mathay Jr. and order the continuance of their trial for the crime of qualified theft.

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In her eight-page urgent motion dated February 23, 2016, Andrea Gandionco, sister-in-law of Mathay, urged the tribunal to dissolve the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued which stopped the proceedings of the qualified theft case filed against Mathay’s children before a court in Pasig City.

The Mathays were issued non-bailable arrest warrants and became fugitives from justice for their failure to present themselves in court.

The case stemmed from the exclusion of Gandionco from the General Information Sheet (GIS) of Goldenrod Inc. which she helped organize, together with her sister, the late Sonya Mathay and her children, namely, Ismael 3rd and Ramon, on March 6, 1980.

In February 2013, the Mathays filed two GIS of Goldenrod but they did not include Gandionco’s name. The GIS also revealed that Gandionco’s shares of stock were transferred to Sonya.

Hence, Gandionco filed a complaint of qualified theft through falsification of public documents against the Mathays, namely, Maria Sonya Rodriguez, Ismael Mathay 3rd, Ramon Ismael Mathay and Maria Aurora Mathay.

The Mathay clan questioned the issuance of the arrest warrants before the Court of Appeals, but the appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling.

This prompted the Mathay heirs to bring the case to the Supreme Court. On February 17, 2016, the High Court issued a TRO stopping court proceedings, including the implementation of the warrants of arrest and hold departure order against the petitioners.

Gandionco said the TRO should be lifted because the petitioners’ motion “lacked the essential element to support the issuance of a writ.”

“Rule 58 of the Rules of Court is unequivocal relative to the necessity of a verified application or an affidavit showing irreparable injury,” she said.

“Petitioners have not shown that the investigating prosecutor was remiss in his duties when he determined the presence of probable cause, nor have they shown that the trial judge acted with grave abuse of discretion. This undoubtedly negates Petitioners’ claim of violation of their fundamental rights to life and liberty,” Gandionco said.

She argued that the petitioners should have just applied for bail, for it is the adequate remedy against the arrest, and that the best opportunity to prove their innocence is through trial.

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