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No SC TRO vs. joint DOJ-Comelec panel

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Voting 10-4 on Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC) en banc did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the creation of the joint Department of Justice-Commission on Elections (DOJ-Comelec-DOJ) committee that investigated the alleged fraud in the 2007 elections linked to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Also in a 10-4 vote, the SC consolidated the two petitions filed by Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, Atty. Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, and the third petition filed by former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. questioning the legality of the DOJ-Comelec panel.

In a press conference, SC Spokesman and Court Administrator Atty. Jose Midas Marquez said that “the Court also voted 10-4 to take cognizance of the three consolidated petitions.”

On Monday, former First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo filed a petition before the SC seeking the nullification of the creation of the joint DOJ-Comelec panel and with a prayer for a TRO.

The Arroyo camp also sought for the immediate issuance of a TRO that would stop Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas from handling the criminal case of electoral sabotage against Mrs. Arroyo, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., and former Maguindanao provincial election supervisor Atty. Lintang Bedol.

Electoral sabotage is a non-bailable offense and carries a penalty of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment which is equivalent to a 40-year jail term.
The SC en banc ordered both the DOJ and the Comelec to file their respective comments on the petitions filed by the Arroyos and the prayer for a TRO.

"The respondents DOJ and Comelec were given a 'non-extendible' period of five days from notice to file their respective comment on the petitions and the prayer for a TRO," Marquez said.

Marquez said that also voting 10-4, the SC en banc decided to hold the oral arguments on the consolidated three petitions on Nov. 29, 2011.

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.




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