MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Martin Villarama, Jr. have refused to inhibit from the case involving the preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman against Makati Mayor Jejomar "Erwin" Binay.
The three denied Binay's motion for their voluntary inhibition from hearing the petition of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against Binay and the Court of Appeals (CA) for the latter's issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and, consequently, writ of preliminary injunction to stay the implementation of the preventive suspension order.
Binay has accused them of bias and impropriety and questioned their independence in deciding the case.
He earlier said the Chief Justice has a preconceived bias against the condonation doctrine, which is a crucial component of Binay's case.
Sereno earlier chided Binay's lawyer Sandra Marie Olaso-Coronel for suggesting that any administrative liability on the mayor's part was eliminated by his reelection.
In calling for the inhibition of Carpio, Binay cited Section 1 Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court which "disqualifies judges or justices from presiding over a case when a party thereto is related to him within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity."
Binay said that since Carpio is a first cousin of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, their fathers being brothers, he should inhibit.
Regarding Associate Justice Villarama, Binay said Villarama mentioned during the oral arguments of his case that he received information from "his lawyer from the Ombudsman."
He said this admission from Villarama showed his "closeness to the Office of the Ombudsman" and therefore casts doubts on his independence and propriety as a sitting judge.