High court nixes Marinduque solon’s bid to disqualify three justices from HRET

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court denied on Tuesday the urgent petition by Marinduque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes seeking to disqualligy three justices from sitting as members of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), saying the conggresswoman had “sought the wrong remedy.”

Ongsiako-Reyes is in a continuing electoral battle for Marinduque’s House seat with Lord Velasco, son of Justice Presbitero Velasco, one of the three magistrated whose disqualification from HRET was being sought.

In her urgent petition dated August 18, 2014 Ongsiako-Reyes sought to disqualify and transfer Justices Velasco Jr., Diosdado M. Peralta and Lucas P. Bersamin from membership in the HRET and to substitute them with other Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

In dismissing her petition, the SC said Tuesday it sought the wrong remedy and that, “in any event, there was no grave abuse of discretion alleged nor shown.”

Justice Velasco, who chaired the HRET, had already inhibited himself from the case of his son against the petitioner, but Ongsiako Reyes insisted that his continued stay at the electoral tribunal is untenable as the tribunal members can still interact with him.

Peralta assumed the chairmanship after Velasco’s inhibition, but Ongsiako-Reyes said he also appeared biased while Bersamin voted with the rest of the magistrates in the case questioning her citizenship.

The SC then voted to affirm the decision of the Commission on Elections disqualifying her from the race for the congressional post of Marinduque against the younger Velasco.

The petitioner ran to the SC asking it to transfer Velasco from the HRET to the Senate Electoral Tribunal and to let other justices take the slots of Bersamin and Peralta.

Source and Courtesy: Brian Maglungsod, InterAksyon.com

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