CA junks gov't MR on Meridien preliminary injunction

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2011 11:54 AM | Updated as of Nov 24 2011 07:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals(CA) has junked a motion for reconsideration by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on its earlier ruling granting a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of jai-alai operator Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation(MVGC).

In a three-page resolution of the Former Special 5th Division, penned by Associate Justice Juan Enriquez Jr., the appellate court ruled that arguments presented by the Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo are merely rehashed and do not warrant a reversal of their earlier ruling.

"Public respondents' claims and arguments raised in the motion are mere rehash of the issues in the Comment to the petition and have already been passed upon exhaustively and resolved with definiteness in the assailed resolution.Thus, we find no cogent reason to reverse, modify or alter the assailed Resolution," the resolution read.

The appellate court is barring the DOJ and the  DILG from implementing a joint memorandum dated June 27, 2011 that prohibits the operation of off-fronton jai-alai betting and gaming stations. The joint order only allowed Meridien's jai-alai betting stations "within the premises of the place, enclosure, or fronton where the basque pelota game is held," meaning, inside the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

In its 16-page September 20 resolution, the appellate court invoked "judicial courtesy" in enjoining the DOJ and DILG from implementing their joint memorandum, stating that issues raised before it in a petition filed by Meridien against the 2 agencies are "closely related" to issues in a case involving Meridien pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

Meridien is the only gaming firm in the Philippines that holds the a license and franchise from the CEZA to operate jai alai fronton within the freeport zone. Its operations has reportedly spread around Pangasinan, Isabela and Oriental Mindoro.

Show cause order

The appellate court also issued a show cause order on Robredo for defying the writ of preliminary injunction and ordering the arrest of several Meridien employees.

This was after MVGC filed a petition for indirect contempt against Robredo.

Robredo and Philippine National Police(PNP) officials were ordered to show cause within a period of 5 days why they should not be cited for contempt.