Binay wins 'status quo' ruling from CA

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2015 04:54 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2015 02:00 AM

MANILA (1st UPDATE) - The Court of Appeals (CA) has indefinitely extended its halt order on the preventive suspension of embattled Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay, as the appellate court issued on Monday a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of the local chief executive.

In a 15-page resolution, issued at 12:30 pm, the appellate court's Sixth Division said it issued the writ as a "provisional remedy... as well as a preservative remedy" to maintain the status quo while the case is pending on merits.

The status quo that the writ intends to preserve in this case is the situation prior to the issuance of the preventive suspension order by the Office of the Ombudsman, according to the appellate court.

"[T]he status quo could not be that were petitioner (Binay) was preventively suspended since the suspension did not precede the present controversy; it is the controversy," the CA resolution read.

The appellate court stressed that it is within its authority to issue the writ on a suspension order by the anti-graft office in spite of the Ombudsman's invocation of Section 14 of the Ombudsman Act which states that "[n]o writ of injunction shall be issued by any court to delay an investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman under this Act, unless there is a prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman" and "[n]o court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme Court, on pure question of law."

The appellate court said that a preventive suspension order is a mere interlocutory or preliminary order, and not a decision on the merits, which the CA can halt.

The appellate court also stressed that the writ does not intend to prevent the Ombudsman from proceeding with its investigation into the administrative case against Binay involving the allegedly anomalous P2.7 billion Makati City Hall Building 2.

"[T]he Ombudsman's power to investigate is distinct from the authority to preventively suspend," the resolution read.

The CA ordered Binay to post a bond of P500,000 for the writ to take effect.

The writ of preliminary injunction was issued a week after the CA heard oral arguments on Binay's plea.