ABS-CBN petition vs NTC closure order to be raffled on Monday – SC

Robie de Guzman   •   May 8, 2020   •   1327

MANILA, Philippines – The ABS-CBN’s petition against the shutdown order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be raffled on Monday, May 11, the Supreme Court (SC) said.

In a statement on Friday, the SC Public Information Office confirmed receipt of ABS-CBN Corporation’s petition which seeks to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.

The SC said the media network also pleaded for the release of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction “to prevent grave and irreparable injury” to the network and its employees.

“The Supreme Court received yesterday, May 7, 2020 at 3:16 pm a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for TRO and/or Preliminary Injunction filed by ABS-CBN Corporation against the National Telecommunications Commission,” the SC said.

“The petition will be raffled to a member-in-Charge on Monday, May 11, who will then make a recommendation for the consideration of the Court En Banc,” it added.

The NTC issued a cease and desist order on May 5, directing ABS-CBN to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide due to the expiration of its legislative franchise. The network’s franchise expired on May 4.

In its petition, the media network said the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte is “completely neutral” on the issue, stressing that the president has already accepted ABS-CBN’s apology over his unaired political advertisements in 2016.

The Palace also said that the president wanted his allies in the Congress to vote on the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal according to what their conscience dictates.

9 on JBC shortlist for Supreme Court justice post

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Friday nominated nine applicants for the position of the Supreme Court (SC) associate justice, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said.

In a document released to the public, the shortlisted candidates are the following:

• Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang
• Former Ateneo de Manila University School of Law dean Sedfrey Candelaria
• Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Cruz
• CA Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao
• Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg
• Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Rafael Lagos
• Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez
• CA Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh
• Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva

The SC PIO said the shortlist for the position of the SC associate justice has been submitted to Malacañang for the selection of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The post was vacated by Alexander Gesmundo following his appointment as chief justice in April.

Duterte has 90 days from the vacancy to name a new SC associate justice.

SC employees under A4 group receive COVID-19 vaccine shots

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday announced it has started the inoculation of its employees who are included in the government’s A4 or fourth priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination program.

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the vaccination was held at its Training Center in Padre Faura, Manila, in coordination with the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Health, and the city government of Manila.

“The immediate vaccination of Court employees is among the short-term plans for the Judiciary of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo,” the high court said.

The Supreme Court earlier said that more than 1,900 judiciary personnel have been infected with COVID-19; 33 of them died and 115 are active cases.

More than 30,000 judiciary personnel have been included in the A4 sector of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program. The A4 priority group includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, and local officials.

The SC PIO said that upon Gesmundo’s assumption into office, the court partnered with the Philippine National Red Cross and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS- CSB) on the use of the temporary isolation and quarantine facility for the employees of the Judiciary working in the ‘National Capital Region (NCR) Plus who are infected with COVID-19.

“Likewise, the Court has established an Emergency Care Unit (ECU) at the SC Compound in Manila which will temporarily accommodate and house the employees of the High Court and third-level courts afflicted with COVID-19 and are awaiting hospital confinement or referral to appropriate quarantine facilities,” it said.

The ECU has a total capacity of 55 beds to temporarily accommodate confirmed COVID-19 patients, either asymptomatic patients or with mild or moderate symptoms, who are awaiting transfer to quarantine facilities or hospital confinement due to room or bed unavailability, it added.

SC eyes releasing body cam guidelines by July

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) is eyeing to release the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations by July.

SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the high tribunal will tackle the matter starting June 15.

“The proposed rule is to be taken up as soon we resume session on June 15. And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe after 2 or 3 deliberations we will come up with the final version,” he said.

“Our judges know the responsibility that they have to comply with what the Constitution and the Rules of Court should provide. So, we hope that with the issuance of these rules on body-worn cameras, these issues will be addressed specifically. It’s in the works. By July perhaps, we will have the final version and we’ll approve it for implementation immediately,” he added.

The proposed body-worn cameras was recommended after reports of corruption and abuse by authorities. Based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are over 7,000 cases related to suspects getting killed during the government’s anti-drug campaign.

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has previously ordered the use of body-cameras during operations in the NCR. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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