Legal experts strongly favor that the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) must be respected as against the interpretation of officials under P-Noy administration who contend that the "suspension order" was already served and that the LP Vice Mayor Pena has already administered his "oath of office" few hours before the TRO issued by the CA (Court of Appeals) was received by Makati Mayor Junjun Binay which made the "receipt" of the TRO "already moot and academic." That was the stand by the three officials, Conchita Morales, the Ombudsman; Leila de Lima, DOJ Secretary; and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who echoed the stand of Morales and De Lima. And we can easily consider that these 3 officials, because they are all appointed by P-Noy, will strongly support what Malacanang wants them to say to favor their stand that Mayor Junjun is already, in effect, suspended when the TRO was received. But the legal experts, who have no interest or anything to gain by favoring the P-Noy administration instead, has strongly supported their legal interpretation that the TRO prevails over anything else, even granting that the "suspension order" was served even if it was not personally served at all to the Makati mayor because it was only posted at the entrance of the city hall, and even if the "oath of office" was administered to VM Pena, few hours before the TRO was received by Mayor Junjun. IBP national president Vicente Joyas said the CA's TRO effectively brought back the status quo prior to the implementation of the suspension, saying it has the same effect of a status quo ante order. The IBP head also questioned why De Lima was meddling in the issue. "It is not for a Cabinet official to make such an opinion. Prudence dictates that the parties should instead seek clarification from the court, rather than forcing the issue without giving the court a chance to interpret its order," he stressed. Former deans Amado Valdez of University of the East College of Law and Pacifico Agabin of University of the Philippines College of Law agreed with Joyas. Agabin said, the TRO is "effective" and De Lima's opinion is not binding." Valdez also stressed that the TRO "must be reasonably interpreted in Binay's favor." Former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., author of the Local Government Code of 1991, shared the view of the law deans that the TRO is effective, so Binay should still function as the mayor of Makati. Lawyer Tranquil Salvador III, meanwhile, said the DILG did not follow the proper procedures in enforcing the suspension order against Binay last Monday. Salvador cited Rule 13 Section 9 of the Rules of Court, which states that a suspension by posting it is not allowed under the law," Salvador, who also served as lawyer of former CJ Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012, said in a television interview. "Therefore, what does it mean? If the suspension order was not served properly, there was no suspension at all to be implemented in the first place, he concluded.
It has been clearly pointed out and explained by lawyer Tranquil Salvador, one of the legal experts cited by previous news reports, that in order for the suspension order of the Ombudsman to be properly served, it has to be received personally by the Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. But sad to say, for its own convenience of the officer serving the "order" after posting it at the entrance of the city hall, with several police officers escorting him, he proudly announced that his "mission" to personally serve the "order" was already accomplished. But Salvador, citing certain sections in law disagreed claiming that posting the order at the entrance does not sufficiently fulfill what the law explicitly provided. And he added, in the event where to personally serve it cannot be possibly made, the law provides that it should be sent by registered mail. But the P-Noy administration wants to have a "short cut" in everything it wants to obtain, making the use of its "brute force" clearly visible with the presence of numerous police officers roaming around the city hall grounds as if Makati was already under "martial law," perhaps in an attempt to show fear to Junjun's supporters, out of its naked force ready to stalk anybody. And they were so in a hurry because they want to administer the "oath of office" to LP Vice Mayor Pena so as to use it as their "strong basis" that, indeed, it has already legally proclaimed Pena as the "temporary successor" as Makati mayor during the period of suspension. But, reviewing all the facts of the case clearly point out the "strong-arm" tactic and a distorted interpretation of law by the 3 administration puppets, Morales, De Lima and Roxas, will only show and expose to the whole world that they do not deserve the kind of respect they so unashamedly try to obtain "at all costs."
Footnote: This comment came out in connection with a news item in Philstar, entitled, "Palace: Rule of law must prevail in Makati." It came out on March 18, 2015.