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2 admin solons want alleged Meralco bribe try probed

August 4, 2008 10:02pm

MANILA, Philippines - Two pro-administration congressmen on Monday urged the House of Representatives to investigate allegations that the Manila Electric Co. offered to bribe a Court of Appeals justice to rule in its favor.

The call was aired by Masbate Rep. Antonio Kho and Nueva Ecija Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago.

In separate statements, the two called for a House probe regarding the expose of CA Justice Jose Sabio that Meralco emissary-businessman de Borja offered him P10 million to inhibit from the case.

The allegation has been denied by Meralco.

Violago said that the matter transcends the executive branch and Meralco and threatens the integrity and independence of the entire judiciary.

“We cannot just shirk our shoulders or turn a blind eye or wear velvet gloves on individuals and entities making and launching blatant and vicious attacks on our courts," the Nueva Ecija congressman said.

For his part, Kho found de Borja’s allegations against Sabio “scurrilous and contumacious" that “clearly violates our duty of respect to courts." “These are very malicious and menacing imputations and show no compunction to resort to falsehood to serve his principal’s interest."

“Meralco should be investigated for any possible involvement in this dastardly and devious bribe against a ranking and eminent magistrate of our courts, and I will urge the House leadership to give its full force of this very serious matter," Kho said.

Both administration congressmen also want to impose graver penalties to bribe-givers, and a law that punishes individuals whose statements get “published" and who “demonstrably" give “false or mislead" and issue derogatory remarks to the courts and its judges or justices.

Violago vowed to file a resolution that would direct the House committees on justice and good government to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on allegations that Sabio was offered a bribe by Meralco.

The Nueva Ecija lawmaker also wants the House committees on revision of laws and legislative franchises to form a “legislative technical study group that will immediately draft legislation that will provide stiffer penalties to the crime of bribery."

Violago said it should be a “ground" for the “suspension and/or revocation of a public utility franchise" just like Meralco “if adjudged guilty of said offense or to have conspired with other entities… to sway or influence the conduct of official action involving its interests." - GMANews.TV
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