Corruption charges vs justices must be backed by evidence, says SC

BAGUIO CITY: Charges of corruption in the judiciary must be supported by evidence, the Supreme Court said Tuesday amid allegations of bribery against two Court of Appeals Associate Justices.

While the high court keeps mum on the accusations of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta received P25-million bribe each to rule in favor of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, high court’s Information Chief Theodore Te said at a press conference the high court maintains the importance of evidence in making accusations against members of the judiciary.

“That is the pronouncement made by the Chief Justice (Maria Lourdes Sereno) in several occasions and that is also the position taken by the Court,” Te said.

“If they (accusers) have specific names, details and proofs, they can always submit to the court,” Te added.

Last year, Sereno called on informants and lawyers who have information about corruption in the judiciary to come out and give the court evidence.

Her call was issued following the dismissal from service of Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong for his ties with Janet Lim Napoles.

“We cannot initiate administrative cases without evidence. Bring to us evidence and we will investigate,” Te said.

He added that the high court has the “ultimate jurisdiction” over administrative charges and disciplinary power against members of the judiciary, including justices, judges and lawyers.

“If there is a grievance against members of the judiciary, they (justices) have the authority to take action, under the rules. That’s under the power of the court,” he explained.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines earlier said the Senate has no power to investigate the Court of Appeals justices.

Trillanes passed a resolution to investigate the bribery at the Court of Appeals.

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