• SC drops raps vs 3 Sandigan justices

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) has junked administrative charges against three justices of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan that were filed by an engineer after his conviction over the anomalous construction of the President Diosdado Macapagal Avenue (PDMA).

    The complainant, Jesusito Legaspi, was one of the 13 accused who were found guilty by Justices Efren dela Cruz, Rafael Lagos and Rodolfo Ponferrada of violating the anti-graft law in connection with the project.

    Legaspi had accused the justices of gross ignorance of the law, partiality and unjust judgment for taking judicial notice of a sworn affidavit in 2002 that he executed and then submitted to the Ombudsman in a case against Sulpicio Tagud Jr. and Public Estates Authority (PEA) Assistant General Manager Pelagio Lalap involving the construction of the Bay Boulevard Project.

    According to him, the sworn affidavit was the sole basis for his conviction.

    Legaspi argued that the magistrates failed to appreciate that the subject affidavit refers not to the “Seaside Drive Extension,” which is completely different from and unrelated to the road construction project

    involved in the case over which he was convicted.

    In its November 16, 2015 ruling that was released only recently, the full court dismissed the engineer’s complaint for lack of merit and for being judicial in nature.

    The SC found that “the supposed errors that the [three justices might have committed in taking judicial notice of and admitting as evidence the complainant’s affidavit]are–at the most–errors of judgment

    that the complainant may raise through judicial remedies [usual or extraordinary], such as a motion for reconsideration, appeal or petition for certiorari.”

    “Such errors, even if they did occur, cannot be the basis for the charges made in the absence of any bad faith on the part of the ruling magistrates.”

    JOMAR CANLAS

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