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Gonzalez: SC unlikely to veto grant of executive clemency to Teehankee

October 15, 2008 3:42pm
MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez on Wednesday belittled the petition seeking to nullify the grant of executive clemency to Claudio Teehankee Jr, as he belied the petitioner's claim that the released convict does not qualify for sentence commutation.

In an interview with the reporters, Gonzalez said the High Court is unlikely to encroach into the President's powers to grant an executive clemency.

"I don't think so. Otherwise, the Supreme Court will traverse the separation of powers," Gonzalez said when asked if the High Court will move to overturn the grant of executive clemency to Teehankee.

"Pardon once delivered cannot be revoked," he added.

Earlier in the day, lawyer Ernesto Francisco one of the private prosecutors who represented families of Teehankee’s victims — Maureen Hultman, Roland John Chapman, and Jussi Olavi Leino — asked the High Court to nullify the Board of Pardons and Parole’s recommendation for sentence commutation and the subsequent grant of executive clemency to Teehankee.

Francisco said the authorities responsible for Teehankee’s release committed "a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction."

In his 62-page petition, Francisco said that the Department of Justice and the BPP violated their own rules by failing to comply with their own Amended Guidelines for Recommending Executive Clemency when they recommended executive clemency to Teehankee.

Francisco also said that Teehankee did not deserve clemency because he failed to settle the civil aspect of his sentence with respect to Chapman in the amount of P2,050,000 and to Leino in the amount of P4,148,369.84 and US$55,600.

In the interview, Gonzalez said the question on the payment of civil liabilities is better addressed to the Makati Regional Trial Court, and not the Supreme Court, adding that Teehankee cannot be sent to jail again solely based on that justification.

"Assuming they have not been paid they can ask for a writ sa Makati Regional trial Court for the properties of Teehankee kasi civil liabilities yan," Gonzalez said.

Teehankee, the son of the late former Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee Sr, was convicted in 1995 for killing Maureen Hultman and Roland John Chapman, and gravely wounding their friend Jussi Leino in 1991.

He was sentenced with one count of reclusion perpetua for killing Hultman, and two counts of reclusion temporal for the cases of Leino and Chapman.

Teehankee had been locked in jail since July 24, 1991, nearly two weeks after the crime took place on July 13, 1991 in Dasmariňas Village in Makati City .

Acting on a recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo granted executive clemency to Teehankee effective October 2, paving the way for Teehankee's release from his quarters at the NBP on the night of October 8. - Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV
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