• Supreme Court magistrate stands her ground in confrontation with Sereno

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    Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Teresita de Castro isn’t through jousting with Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno over the temporary restraining order Sereno issued affecting the proclamation of several winning party-list groups.

    In a two-page letter to Sereno, dated last June 5, De Castro said the chief magistrate’s tardiness as the reason why her recommendation on the party-list case was not immediately acted upon.

    De Castro is the one designated to handle the two petitions concerning the disqualification of the group representing senior citizens from the party list race.

    In her two-page letter, De Castro narrated the “real circumstances” that happened last May 28, when she submitted her recommendation to Sereno.

    The letter is actually a response to the letter of Sereno’s, also dated June 5, which stated that what her office had received in the early morning of May 28, 2013 were mere synopsis of the case.

    But De Castro said that aside from the synopsis, she in fact submitted versions of the draft TRO to Sereno’s office three times, starting at 8:05 a.m. on the day in question.

    De Castro wrote the letter in order to “correct a misimpression” in Sereno’s statements.

    She sent the first version to Sereno’s office at 8:05 a.m., the second at 10 a.m, and the third at 1:30 p.m.

    Accompanying the first version are De Castro’s covering letter dated May 27, 2013 as well as “the synopsis for the cases; draft of recommended TRO and the rollos for the consolidated cases.”

    In her most recent letter to Sereno, De Castro said “it is standard practice in the Court that a Member-in-Charge recommending the issuance of a TRO should already submit a draft of the same to the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) for approval upon making such recommendation. This was precisely what was done on May 28, 2013 at 8:05 a.m.”

    She said that when Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal told her of the extremely urgent motions filed on the case and after verifying that Sereno had not yet acted on her draft, De Castro sent the second version and included the motion that has been filed.

    She drafted a third version upon learning that the supplemental petition had been filed.

    “I trust this will enlighten you on the real circumstances that occurred on May 28, 2012 while you were out of your office,” de Castro wrote to Sereno.

    In an en banc session on Tuesday, De Castro rebuked Sereno for supposedly tampering with De Castro’s draft TRO by issuing an order stopping the Comelec from further proclaiming winning party-list groups.

    Sereno’s TRO was revoked by the Supreme Court en banc on Wednesday with a status quo ante order against the disqualification of Senior Citizens party-list and another group, Abang Lingkod.

     

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