Suit filed at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal : Jail Brillantes & his 5 Commissioners for contempt

This is press statement from the Movement against Graft and Abuse of Power

 

 

“JAIL Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes and his five Commissioners for Contempt,” this was the gist of the voters’ suit filed by electorates at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) in Supreme Court, Manila today.

The petitioners are:  Alicia C. Lazaga, Joel B. Abalos, Jonas R. Sinel, all of Sta Rosa City, and Ricardo M. Bautista, of San Juan City, Metro Manila, all registered voters.

Lazaga, Abalos, Sinel, and Bautista are also top officers of anti-graft groups operating in CALABARZON and other parts of the country.

In an 11-page petition, the petitioners, have effectively intervened on PET Case No. 004, an electoral protest filed before the tribunal by 2010 Vice-Presidential Candidate Mar Roxas vs his opponent, now Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The petitioners have urgently and strongly asked the PET to cite Comelec Chairman Brillantes and Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Cristian Robert Lim, Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, and Al A. Pareno, for Contempt (whether Direct, Indirect, or Criminal) with a guilty verdict of six months imprisonment and P30,000 fine for each respondent.

The petitioners have charged that Billantes, Tagle, Yusoph, Lim, Padaca, and Pareno have continuously disobeyed, ignored, and violated PET Resolution promulgated on August 31, 2010 in relation to Roxas vs Binay 2010 protest case No. 004 entitled “Precautionary Protection Order” (PPO) signed by Filipa B. Anama, assistant clerk of court of the PET, which was issued to Comelec through then Chairman Jose A. R. Melo and all concerned parties.

The PPO cites in toto:

“Now, therefore, pursuant to Rule 36 of the 2010 Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, You, Commission on Elections, your agents, representatives, or persons acting in your place or stead, including the municipal treasurers, election officers, and the responsible personnel and custodians, are hereby DIRECTED to PRESERVE and SAFEGUARD the integrity of the ballot boxes, their contents and keys, list of voters with voting records, books of voters and other documents and other paraphernalia used in May 2010 elections for the position of Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines, as well as data storage devices containing the electronic data evidencing the results of elections in the contested 76,340 clustered precincts subject of the Protest and Counter-Protest, effective immediately and upreme Court of the Philippines, this 31st day of August.”

Sinel, spokesperson of Movement Against Graft and Abuse of Power (MAGAP) said that corrupt acts and abuses of power must be stopped from today to rebuild our country and set forth new beginnings in honestly electing upright elective public officials starting 2016 polls.

 

sc petition on brillantes

“It’s timely to jail Brillantes, et. al, as a penalty on contemptuous acts done to PET for brazenly violating the tribunal’s precautionary protection order. If Senators are jailed for corruption, then so be it for Comelec officials, that is so urgently necessary,” he said.

Lazaga, President of the Anti-Corruption League of Laguna, Inc. (ACLL-inc) cited that PET should punish Comelec Chair Brillantes, et al, for contempt as leniency to them and letting them scot-free from accountability would rise as a grave insult to the hollowed tribunal and the Supreme Court, as a whole.

“Kung nagagawa nila na lapastanganan ang PET na siyan rin ang Korte Suprema, paano na kung pabayaan ang mga ganitong mga opsiyales sa paglabag sa batas? Ikulong natin ang mga abusado at nagkasala,” she said.

The admission, the petitioners also wrote, of Comelec spokesperson, Dir. James Jimenez that the precinct-count optical scanner (PCOS) machines were already transferred from its warehouse in Cabuyao City, whether judicial or extra-judicial, is conclusive and needs no further evidence that the poll body had not secured any permit from PET to allow the poll body to transfer  PCOS machines, compact flashcards, servers, election paraphernalia, etc. to another warehouse, thus said poll officers have indeed directly violated in contempt — either direct, indirect, or criminal — the standing and active PPO.

The petitioners also invoked Section 9 of Batas Pambansa 884 approved on December 03, 1985, titled: “An Act Constituting an Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to Try, Hear and Decide Election Contests in the Office of the President and Vice President of the Philippines, Appropriating Funds therefor and for other purposes.”

Section 9 states:

“The tribunal shall have the power to recommend the immediate prosecution or persons, either public officers or private individuals, who in its opinion  appear to have participated  in any irregularity connected to the canvassing and/or accomplishing of election returns, including but not limited to the forging or falsification of advance report of election returns, tampering in any manner with the election returns, failure to affix the required signatures and thumbmarks  by any member or members of the board of election inspectors or board of canvassers, or unnecessary delay  in the sending or transmission of any election return or paraphernalia used in the election, or in the transport and safekeeping of ballot boxes.

“The tribunal shall be empowered to store, or deposit ballot boxes, election returns and all other election paraphernalia in a safe and secure place under guard by appropriate deputies appointed by the tribunal, and, upon formal request by the contestants or their attorneys, the latter shall be authorized to post their own guards thereat.

“The tribunal or any of its duly authorized members shall have the power to punish for contempt, as provided for in Rule 71 of the revised Rules of Court, under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therein and exercised by superior courts.”

In support to the instant petition for contempt (whether Direct, Indirect, or Criminal), the petitioners anchor their arguments by adopting any of the applicable jurisprudence on the issue, to wit:

“In its broad sense, a contempt is a disregard of, or dispobedience to, the rules or orders of a legislative or judicial body or an interruptionof its proceedings by disorderly behavior or insolent language in its presence or so near thereto as to disturb its proceedings ot to impair the respect due to such body.” (C.C.S.,8-9);

“Contempt of court have been classified as civil or criminal, or as direct and constructive. In addition to the term “constructive”, as an antitheisis of “direct” the courts have used such words as “indirect” and “consequential’”, either a civil or criminal contempt may be direct or indirect.” (C.J.S., 5.);

“It is a civil contempt for a person to fail to comply with an order of a court requiring him to pay money for his wife’s support; TO VIOLATE INJUNCTION preserving the business rights of plaintiff; to justify falsely on judicial bond; to interpose a falsely verified answer; or for any attorney to take conveyance from a client pendentelite.: (12 Am. Jur,. 393-394);

“Criminal contempt proceedings are those brought to preserve the power and vindicate the dignity of the court and to punish for disobedience of its orders. A criminal contempt is committed by a party in civil action where he falsely pretends  that he is too ill to attend court; By a failure to turn over property as ordered; bythe concealment of assets by a bankrupt; by proceeding with a sale in defiance of an order or the court; or by violating an injunction against interference with a complainant employee, although as to his last-mentioned point there is authority to the contrary.” (12 Am. Jur., 392-392); and

“A person guilty of direct contempt may be punished summarily. (Sec 1, Rule 71, Rules of Court). The Judge does not have to wait for any complaint before he can act. (Torres vs. Teodoro, 101 Phil., 429). The court mya, upon its own knowledge of facts, without further proof, without issue or trial, without hearing an explanation of the motives of the offender immediately proceed to determine whether the facts justify punishment and to inflict such punishment seems proper within limits allowed by law.” (12 Am. Jur., 480).

The petitioners further prayed to order complete restitution to all parties (like employees and workforce, lessee/ownersof the property/and warehouse/facilities first and originally used by respondent Comelec; and to enforce the contempt which consisted in the refusal or omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the respondents’ to perform, and to order respondents’ imprisonment until they perform and comply with the PET Precautionary Protection Order pursuant to its resolution of August 31, 2010.

The petitioners vow to fight for clean and honest 2016 elections by ridding of corrupt Comelec officials and crook candidates.

Here is a soft copy of the petition:

Final Revised Magap-bautista v. Comelec,Sc Contempt, June 22,2014

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