• SC mulls contempt charges against former chief justice

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    FORMER Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban is in danger of being penalized and cited for contempt by the Supreme Court (SC) en banc after an incumbent SC Associate Justice asked his colleagues to probe into Panganiban’s alleged intrusion into the pending cases of the court through his published articles.

    In a one-page letter of SC Justice Arturo Brion addressed to the Court en banc on June 10, 2013, Brion accused the former chief justice of writing opinion articles regarding the SC’s March 2013 ruling which junked the P500-million tax refund or credit claims of Manny Pangilinan-owned San Roque Power Corp. for unutilized input value-added tax on purchases of capital goods and services in 2001.

    Brion argued that while there exists the freedom of speech and of the press, it should not intrude into pending cases lest it influences the decision of the court. He then asked the SC to require the retired chief justice to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt.

    “Unless stopped by decisive court action, this practice of intruding into pending court cases through the media will assume epidemic proportions, to the prejudice of this Court,” the justice said.

    Incidentally, Panganiban recently wrote another opinion article tackling the pending disqualification case of Mayor Joseph Estrada of Manila in view of his conviction after he was ousted as President of the Philippines.

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