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3-man panel on CA bribery controversy to convene Wednesday

August 5, 2008 8:09pm

MANILA, Philippines - The three-man panel created to look into the alleged bribery attempt on a Court of Appeals justice will convene Wednesday to discuss the parameters and sequence of their investigation.

The panel, composed of retired justices, has been given until August 21 to submit a report on the alleged bribe try as well as on the administrative row among magistrates that heard the case of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) against the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Supreme Court Spokesman lawyer Midas Marquez said the panel, headed by retired SC Justice Carolina GriƱo-Aquino, will have its first hearing on Thursday.

The hearing will be open to the public, Marquez said.

"The hearing will be opened to the public and to the media. It's going to be a regular hearing, parang yung oral arguments natin (It will be like the oral arguments), except that there will be no cameras inside the hearing room,” he said.

The other members of the panel are retired Justices Flerida Ruth Romero and Romeo Callejo.

Marquez said the Court is leaving it up to the panel to identify the persons they would summon for investigation.

He said there is little pressure on the SC to rule promptly on the alleged bribery attempt on CA Justice Jose Sabio Jr. as well as on the propriety of the actions of other magistrates involved in the controversial Meralco ruling of the CA's Eighth Division last July 23.

Among the documents submitted for the perusal of the three-man panel was the letter of CA Associate Justice Edgardo Cruz, chairman of the committee on the internal rules of the CA (IRCA), stating as to which justice should participate in the adjudication of the Meralco case after the Ninth Division issued a temporary restraining order.

Cruz's letter stated that as early as June 20, Sabio already knew that he will no longer be part of the division that will decide on the Meralco petition.

Sabio had earlier claimed an emissary of the Lopez-owned Meralco had approached him and offered him P10 million to inhibit himself from the case. He said he thumbed down the offer. - GMANews.TV
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