MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has finally spoken up about the alleged bribery of Court of Appeals (CA) magistrates to favor the petition stopping the suspension of Makati Mayor Erwin "Junjun" Binay.
Speaking at the sidelines of the oath-taking of over 1,000 new lawyers at the PICC, Sereno said she will let the appellate court investigate the claims of Sen. Antonio Trillanes that justices of the CA 6th Division received millions in bribe money to issue a temporary restraining order, and, subsequently, a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Binay regarding his preventive suspension by the Ombudsman.
"We will let CA investigate...They have to proceed with the process they believe is right. Yes, we will wait for their report," she said.
Asked if they will act on the issue after the CA investigation, she added: "It depends on what the report contains."
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has accused Associate Justices Jose Reyes and Francisco Acosta of receiving P25 million each for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by their division on the 6-month preventive suspension ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman on Binay.
The younger Binay, son of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, faces administrative charges, along with his father and several others, for the allegedly overpriced P2.7 billion Makati City Hall Building 2.
Trillanes said it is high time to investigate the so-called "justice for hire" in the judiciary.
The Court of Appeals, meanwhile, has ordered its ethics committee to investigate the allegations.
In a one-page April 16 letter to the CA Ethics Committee, through committee chairperson Associate Justice Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo, Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, Jr. directed the Ethics Committee to convene and conduct its probe on Trillanes' claims against two members of the appellate court's 6th Division whom Trillanes had accused of receiving bribe money from the camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in exchange for favorable resolutions.
The committee's findings will be submitted to Presiding Justice Reyes for approval, and, subsequently, to the Supreme Court en banc.