The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said it will start a probe on two Court of Appeals (CA) justices accused of receiving P25 million each for stopping the implementation of a preventive suspension order against Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, reports GMA.
The IBP is the national organization of lawyers in the Philippines. Membership in the IBP is compulsory for all lawyers in the country.
The IBP will hold a whole day, full scale probe on April 22.
On Monday, April 13, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a resolution calling for a Senate investigation on the alleged “justice for sale” scheme at the appellate court. Citing reliable sources privy to the matter, he accused CA Associate Justices Jose Reyes, Jr. and Francisco Acosta of getting P20 million each for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Binay’s suspension, as reported on Inquirer.
The two justices allegedly accepted an additional of P5 million each upon the subsequent issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to stop Binay’s suspension indefinitely.
Trillanes said lawyer Pancho Villaraza of the Villaraza and Angangco Law Offices facilitated the transactions. However, the law firm vehemently denied and branded as baseless the senator’s accusations. It challenged the senator to reveal who his reliable sources are.
The IBP said the Senate, due to separation of powers of government branches, cannot investigate the justices. IBP national president Vicente Joyas advised Senator Trillanes to file before the Supreme Court a formal complaint against the two justices.
The Supreme Court has the right jurisdiction to handle the complaint, Joyas said, emphasizing the importance of bringing out the truth behind the senator’s accusations because the issue is affecting the entire law profession in the country.
Meanwhile, CA justices Reyes and Acosta denied Trillanes’ unfounded accusations. They accused the senator of intimidating the judiciary members through harassment.
“Baseless accusations constitute harassment that seek to threaten magistrates in our bounden duty to discharge justice based on fairness, impartiality and the rule of law, and undermines the integrity of the judiciary as an institution and weakens the people’s faith in our legal processes,” Reyes said.