SC magistrate denies influencing case that benefited son

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2013 06:10 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2013 03:41 AM

MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr. has denied having influenced the outcome of an election-related case that benefited his son, Lord Allan Jay.

In a statement issued by Atty. Theresa Genevieve N. Co, from the chambers of Velasco, the magistrate stressed that he inhibited from the case of Marinduque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes vs Commission on Elections and Joseph Socorro B. Tan.

"Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. did not participate in G.R. No. 207264... as he actually inhibited from the case although his son, Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, is not a party to said case."

"The allegation that he 'wielded his influence' in said case is baseless and malicious. Being a lawyer and an officer of the court, Atty. Reyes should have been circumspect in her statements," the statement read.

Reyes was proclaimed winner in the lone district of Marinduque in the recently concluded elections.

She won with 52,209 votes as opposed to Velasco's 48,396 votes.

This is in spite of a Comelec ruling that disqualified her on the basis of her alleged American citizenship.

Reyes went to the high court to question the poll body's ruling.

Voting 7-4-3, the high court dismissed Reyes' petition.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Reyes openly accused Velasco of lobbying to junk the case. She said the high court should have referred the case to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), consistent with jurisprudence.

"After proclamation, all cases relating to the qualification of a member of Congress shall be resolved by the HRET," Reyes said.