MANILA – Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Friday took exception to criticisms on alleged delays in the release of the Supreme Court (SC) decision on the cases of suspected communist rebels questioning their detention during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In an online presser, Peralta said he had made personal representations to Court Administrator Midas Marquez to act on the case of one of the accused, Reina Mae Nasino, whose child died while she was under detention.
“I understand the plight of Mrs. Nasino and I extend my condolences to her. I take this opportunity to extend my condolences to her,” Peralta said, noting that there were multiple pleadings from lawyers for the inhibition of the Manila judges handling the case.
“Actually, as early as July 28, in-announce na namin yung decision (we announced the decision) that the cases will be referred to the courts where the cases are filed. That was the announcement eh. I will not blame them because they have their own interpretation,” Peralta said.
He added that while the main decision was brief, the concurring and dissenting opinions of magistrates on the case could not be hurried.
“(T)hey (magistrates) followed the periods to submit their written opinions. And I cannot deprive them of that. In fact, sa akin (for me), three pages lang ang resolution ko (the main resolution only consists of three pages). But I cannot tell them, ‘Oh wag ka magsulat ng more than 30 pages, 40 pages’ (Don’t write more than 30 pages, 40 pages). Di pwede ‘yun (That could not be). Also, they spent a lot of time preparing all these opinions. I hope they will understand the Court, that’s all that I can say,” Peralta said.
Peralta said while the cases were pending and the mother of Nasino was in front of the SC, he instructed Court Administrator Marquez to act on it.
“I immediately directed the Court (Administrator) to refer the mother to the RTC and RTC acted through Judge Marivic Umali. But I think the problem there is that they were not satisfied with the resolution of Judge Umali and then they caused the inhibition of Judge Umali,” he said.
At the time, Nasino’s child was still alive.
Thereafter upon the advice of the Court Administrator, Peralta said the executive judge of the Manila RTC was instructed to re-raffle the case to Judge Dinnah Topacio, the wife of lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.
“Hindi pa nag-act itong si Judge (Dinnah) Topacio (Judge Dinnah Topacio did not act). Then there was a motion to inhibit her. I cannot blame them because my only reading why there was a motion to inhibit because Attorney (Ferdinand) Topacio is the lawyer in the petition for habeas corpus and writ of Amparo pending before the Supreme Court filed by the mother of a girl of 19-year-old under the care of the Anakbayan. So probably that was the reason,” he added.
Another re-raffle sent the case to Judge Paulino Gallegos who immediately acted on it and granted an original period of three-day furlough.
Peralta said the SC is not empowered to allow temporary liberty even on humanitarian grounds for persons charged in non-bailable cases. (PNA)