Duterte warns SC, CA anew not to abuse TROs


Duterte warns SC, CA anew not to abuse TROs

The President warns that if judges use their power to issue TROs to make money, ‘there will be a time I will not honor your orders’

Pia Ranada

Published 8:15 PM, May 18, 2017

Updated 8:15 PM, May 18, 2017

ABUSES IN COURT. President Duterte warns courts not to abuse their power to issue TROs. Presidential photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warned the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals anew not to abuse its power to issue temporary restraining orders (TROs).

Bakit man kayo mag-TRO, TRO? Do not wait for the day na hindi ako maniwala sa inyo kasi jina-jamming ninyo ang Pilipino eh, kayo mga justices diyan,” said Duterte on Thursday, May 18, during a speech in Tagum City.

(Why do you issue so many TROs? Do not wait for the time when I stop believing you because you are jamming Filipinos, you justices there.)

Duterte cited the specific example of how the CA dealt with the case of Mile Long, a Makati property under the control of the Prieto and Rufino families who own the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Sunvar Realty Development Corporation.

He asked courts to allow the government to implement a Metropolitan Trial Court’s decision ordering Sunvar to vacate the 2.9-hectare property owned by the government but leased to private companies.

“You choose. I am warning you. Either return the property of the government to the people or there will be a time I will not honor your orders and you shall have created a constitutional crisis,” said Duterte.

The Mile Long property was subleased to Sunvar by a company that had leased it from the land’s owners, the Philippine government, and National Power Corporation, until 2002.

In 2002, the government decided not to renew its lease contract but Sunvar refused to vacate the property on which it had constructed commercial buildings and establishments.

The Metropolitan Trial Court in Makati City Branch 61 ruled in 2015 that Sunvar should vacate the property and pay back the government for rentals.

But Sunvar successfully delayed this by filing a petition for injunction before a Makati Regional Trial Court branch to stop the execution of the MTC’s decision.

Delayed projects

Recently, Duterte warned courts that he is familiar with the “historical practice” of judges to issue TROs when paid money by the party favored by the TRO.

Alam ninyo, ginagamit niyo na negosyo eh, na kung matalo, takbo kaagad. So there is the TRO, the project gets stalled,” said Duterte on Tuesday, during a press conference after arriving in Davao City from China.

(You know, you use this as a business. If a party loses a case, they run to you right away. So there is the TRO, the project gets stalled.)

At the time, he was talking about infrastructure projects that get stalled due to TROs issued by courts after a petitioner complains, for instance, of a technicality in the project’s approval.

“Don’t do it. We will get into a fight. That’s for sure. If you start to mess up with the court processes just to earn money or from the contending parties,” he said.

“I won’t allow that because I know it’s plain corruption,” he added.

Duterte had complained about corruption in TRO issuances even before he took his oath as president. – Rappler.com