Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Proper remedies against errors of judgment

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MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has exonerated three Sandiganbayan magistrates in an administrative case filed by an engineer whom they convicted over the allegedly anomalous President Diosdado Macapagal Avenue (PDMA).

In a decision dated November 16, 2015, the high court junked the case filed by Engr. Jesusito Legaspi against Justices Efren Dela Cruz, Rafael Lagos, and Rodolofo Ponferrada for "lack of merit." The Sandiganbayan magistrates found Legaspi guilty, along with 12 others, of graft charges over the said project.

Legaspi accused the justices of gross ignorance of the law, partiality, and rendering an unjust judgment.

He said the justices erred in taking judicial notice of a sworn statement he executed in 2002, and submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman in a case against one Sulpicio Tagud, Jr. and Public Estates Authority (PEA) Asst. Gen. Manager Pelagio Lalap, involving the construction of the Bay Boulevard Project.

Legaspi alleged that the magistrates convicted him on the basis of that sworn statement which, according to him, does not pertain to the PDMA.

The SC, in its ruling, said that "[s]uch errors, even if they did occur, cannot be the basis for the charges made in the absence of any bad faith on the part of the ruling [Sandiganbayan] magistrates."

The high court also said that the alleged errors are "at the most errors of judgment" which Legaspi may properly challenge through a motion for reconsideration, appeal, or petition for certiorari.

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