12 April 2007

Asuncion's bleeding hearts

SAVE for a much earlier post which attracted 17 comments, 14 of which were spam, my most commented entry here already had 13, thanks to two persistent, anonymous commenters whose hearts, it seems, bleed for the fate that befell sacked Court of Appeals justice John Elvi Asuncion.

"Friend of a concerned court employee" picks bones with the legal aspect of the Supreme Court decision dismissing Asuncion for delayed action on pending cases, gross ignorance of the law, and manifesting undue interest in the PNB case.

"Anonymous," on the other hand, finds Asuncion's dismissal totally unfair, claiming half of the judges and magistrates in our courts are as guilty as he is, and opines that politics is behind it.

Both found my basic argument -- that if Asuncion truly feels he has been wronged, he should come clean and help in cleansing our courts by fingering his other equally guilty colleagues in the judiciary -- wanting, accusing me of being prejudiced on this case.

In the Planet Naga aggregator of the city government, a related news item on Asuncion earned another anonymous comment, asking whether it "means the city of Naga holds grudges."

This compelled me to read the SC court decision again, and visualize the events it described, hoping to find arguments or grounds that will support the position of my two persistent commenters. I am not a lawyer, but I think I can understand English well enough to make an informed, less biased assessment. (I remember Dean Bocobo writing something about this point on language and the law when the Panganiban Court was about to release its decision on E0 464.)

Unfortunately for them, the more I reread that decision, the more I am convinced that the High Court did the right thing. I may be prejudiced as a Naga resident and someone who works for the city government, but I already factored that in. And I still came to the same conclusion. Maybe it will help if "Friend" and "Anonymous" will also reread that decision with a more open mind and lesser bias for Asuncion.


friend of a court employee said...

hi mr. prilles! laymen would find the decision really convincing, but for a lawyer or law student, it is really flawed. Did you know that the Supreme Court, days after releasing their decision, sent Justice Asuncion CORRECTIONS to said decision?? It only means, they do not check the facts stated in their decision. the CORRECTIONS did not reverse the decision but it makes clear that the SC was in a rush to decide on the case.

Im a law student and i can write a motion for reconsideration for Asuncion if he wants me to. The flaws are so obvious and so basic that someone who has a background in law could see it clearly.

There are two complaints in
Asuncion's case, the first one is an anonymous complaint on Asuncion's alleged sitting on decisions "unless the party would come across". The second one is a complaint by Atty. Padilla on Asuncion's alleged gross ignorance of the law.

For the first complaint, i want you to think about this: Article III Section 14 is clear in saying:
"(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right xxx to meet the witnesses face to face, and xxx"

It is stated in the Constitution that an accused has the right to know the person who complained against them so that the accused would have the right to confront them and defend himself against them. Jurisprudence has shown that when there is no valid complainant, a case would not prosper. In fact, many big cases have been dismissed because of locus standi issues. Asuncion should not have been given any penalties for this because the complaint was anonymous. If indeed there have been delay, Pardo should have filed his report and then filed another administrative complaint. The Rules of Court should have been followed. Funny that the SC has been getting their way using the Rules of Court and now, they won't even follow it???

On the second issue: Did you know that Atty. PAdilla admitted in the SC hearing that what Asuncion gave out WAS NOT a temporary restraining order and that such status quo order was LEGALLY ISSUED , meaning it was a valid order?? Even Justice Pardo said that a status qou order IS NOT A TRO. Funny the decision never mentioned this.

The Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution states:
Section 13. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any Members who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution, must state the reason therefor. The same requirements shall be observed by all lower collegiate courts.

The said status quo order was reached in conclusion of 3 justices of the Court of Appeals, Asuncion, retired justice Oswaldo Agcaoili and SC Justice Cancio GArcia. If any of them did not agree the constitution says that they should issue a dissent. No one did. Meaning, they fully agree on it.

Funny also that most jurisprudence used to justify the decision IS FOR JUDGES who decide on their own and by themselves only. Not for Justices whose decisions stem out from a college of three or five or all justices (as in en banc).

Quoted verbatim is Justice PArdo's statement (as quoted in the decision) on why Justice Asuncion allegedly "held on" to the case of PNB:

"The Investigating Justice supplies the answer in his Report thus: “His (respondent’s) ‘interest’ in the case is ‘manifest’ in that, despite his assignment in Cebu City on July 7, 2004, he did not unload the case to Justice Zenarosa (Office Order No. 212-04-CG). Worse, he recalled the case upon his return to the CA Manila station.”

To the Court, these are badges of bad faith and manifest undue interest attributable only to the respondent, and not to the other two justices of the CA Division. Accordingly, only the respondent must be made to suffer the consequences."

My reply:
First, how can you RECALL what was not UNLOADED??????? Really now Honorable Justice Pardo.

Secondly, the case was returned to ASuncion not because he ASKED that it be RECALLED to him but it was returned to him by the Clerk of Court because of a rule at the Rules of Court that a case should be decided by the Justice who heard it. If he recalled it on his own, EYEBROWS WOULD HAVE RAISED THEN. Why only now?

The decision is wrought with malice, prejudice and unthinkable conclusions. The SC has done it a number of times already. Let's face it, they did it again here.

Mr. Prilles, I humbly ask that you try to reconsider your opinions of the case. If you were Asuncion, I believe you would also rather stay quiet and just stay out of it. What do you think did he feel emotionally? For 3 decades he has served the government and this happens to him. He knows what it is like to be in the whole "business". Im sure as hell that he's digusted by things and surely would just rather busy himself with something more meaningful. What do you think? Would you also talk if you were in his shoes?

friend of a court employee said...

mr. prilles, i missed commenting here in your blog. =) sorry i took so long...

one more thing, yeah you can understand english, i like the way you use the language actually, but what is spoken in decisions is legalese. and yes, my heart bleeds for him because he is a victim here.

anonymous, let's discuss this over coffee... hahahaha!

email me!friendofacourtemployee@yahoo.com

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