MANILA (1st UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) en banc unanimously confirmed in its regular Tuesday session the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in connection with the petition of reelectionist Imus,Cavite Mayor Emmanuel L. Maliksi of the Liberal Party (LP).
In a press statement, acting SC Public Information Office (PIO) chief Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra bared that Sereno's issuance of the TRO last Oct. 11 was "in response to and after careful study of the written request of the same date by the Member-in-charge (Justice-in-charge) of the case."
According to well-placed ABS-CBN News sources, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is the Member-in-charge of the Maliksi petition.
The source bared that Carpio made the recommendation to issue a TRO in favor of Maliksi to prevent the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from unseating Maliksi after its revision of votes turned out in favor of Maliksi's rival in the 2010 mayoralty race, Homer T. Saquilayan.
Carpio made the recommendation before going on wellness leave, the source said.
This information was confirmed by the SC.
"[T]he temporary restraining order... was issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno in response to and after careful study of the written request of the same date by the Member-in-Charge of the said case, copy of which was furnished the Members (Justices) of the Court.
"There is thus no truth at all to allegations that the Chief Justice acted on her own and was influenced by political pressure in issuing the TRO," Guerra said.
Aside from Carpio, four other justices were not present: Arturo Brion (personal leave); Mariano del Castillo (personal leave); Jose Perez (wellness leave), Bienvenido Reyes (official leave, in Geneva).
Sereno's issuance of the TRO in favor of the LP bet raised eyebrows since it was done by the chief magistrate by her lonesome, not by the entire court, ahead of Tuesday's en banc session.
Observers said she could have done the same in the case of the numerous petitions against Republic Act (RA) No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.