No need to cancel holiday break for poll cases – SC
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) need not cancel their holiday recess to act on urgent election cases, including the petition to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe, as suggested by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said yesterday that the SC magistrates are set to take a break from their regular sessions on the third week of this month until after New Year – the same period the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expected to finalize the list of official candidates for next year’s polls.

Te confirmed that the last regular session of the justices for this year is set on Dec. 8.

“As far as emergency or urgent petitions (filed during the recess) are concerned, the Court has held special sessions before so that’s not a problem. The justices can decide among themselves if they want to convene and hold a special session on the request of the Chief Justice subject to extraordinary need to convene,” the SC official stressed.

Te pointed out that the internal rules of the high court actually provide for procedures for urgent cases during a recess.

“Under the internal rules, if the Court is on what it calls a recess, meaning there are no sessions, and if there are urgent actions that require immediate relief on the recommendation of the member in-charge – whoever is the member in-charge – then the Chief Justice can actually issue the writ, a TRO (temporary restraining order) or an SQA (status quo ante order),” he explained.

He clarified though that such power of the Chief Justice to issue writs during recess is conditional, as it is subject to the confirmation of the full court in their next session.

“It is also limited in the sense that it cannot apply in terms of issuing decisions on merits of cases that should be made collegially,” he said.

Still, Te stressed that the high court would remain open for filing of petitions even when justices are on recess.

“It’s not a question of the court remaining open. The court is open except on public holidays,” he added.

Te issued the statement after Drilon said the high court should postpone its Christmas break this year so it can decide with dispatch on the disqualification case filed against Poe.

The cases against the presidential frontrunner are expected to reach the SC once the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and the Comelec decide with finality on the issue.

 

ACIRC CHIEF JUSTICE COMELEC COURT DRILON GRACE POE JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME COURT NEW YEAR RECESS SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL THEODORE TE
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