Judicial Courtesy

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Judicial Courtesy

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jayby Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco

Vice President Jejomar Binay has lawyered for his own embattled son Junior who is the subject of a six month suspension order by the Ombudsman.
The suspension comes in the wake of allegations of overpricing of the Makati parking building.
Binay is invoking so-called “judicial courtesy.”
He is arguing that courtesy must be extended to the court by giving it an opportunity to rule on the temporary restraining order sought by the younger Binay.When the Ombudsman suspended Junior from office, Mayor Binay ran to the court of appeals to stop and nullify the enforcement of the suspension.
Lawyers in practice know how the courts treat this concept of “judicial courtesy.”
When a petition is urgent, as when the petition seeks a temporary restraining order, it can be resolved even in a matter of hours, even on the same day the petition is filed and raffled to a division.
When a petition is filed in the court of appeals and there is a prayer for a TRO, it is subject to immediate raffle so that the TRO can be taken up immediately.
When no TRO is issued during the day, or even the day after the filing, usually a TRO is unlikely.
The non-issuance of TRO is in itself an action by the court.
By not issuing the TRO immediately subsequent to the filing of the petition, it is as if the court is giving way for the enforcement of the order being sought to be stopped.
It must also not be forgotten that the office issuing the suspension order is not an ordinary office, but a constitutional body, the Office of the Ombudsman, which is tasked to investigate graft and corruption that has become endemic in our system of government.

In a sense, while there may be “judicial courtesy”, there should also be “constitutional courtesy” extended to a constitutional body, especially in this case where the court of appeals, while an appellate court, is not a constitutional body like the Ombudsman.
Thus, it can be said that equal or greater courtesy should also be extended to a constitutional office, by respecting its order of suspension upon a public official.
According to the Supreme Court, the mere elevation of an interlocutory order through a petition for certiorari, does not by itself merit a suspension of the proceedings.
Assuming that “judicial courtesy” is to be observed, the question would be, what then would be the waiting time before the suspension order is enforced?
Will it depend on Binay?
We assume that Binay wants more days to allow the court to resolve solely the merits of the requested TRO.
Many things can happen, and can be done within those days.
We assume within those days the Binay camp is busy ‘praying’ for the TRO.
In any event, the DILG should also not dilly dally in doing its duty to enforce the Ombudsman order.
As a matter of fact, the speed of its actions in enforcing the Ombudsman order should not be dependent on the petition filed in court.
It should be done in the ordinary course of business, lest it be charged with failing to perform a lawful duty.

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