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Judge defends TRO, injunction favoring Globe Asiatique

September 16, 2011 8:17pm
The regional trial court (RTC) judge who issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping criminal proceedings against officers of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. (GA) for the real estate developer’s allegedly anomalous housing projects in Pampanga has defended his actions before the Supreme Court.

Pasig City RTC Branch 167 Judge Roberto Mislang, in a six-page letter sent to the high court last Wednesday, denied allegations in the administrative complaint filed against him by state-run Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG Fund) for “grave misconduct and grave ignorance of the law" for issuing last Aug. 26 a TRO enjoining the Department of Justice (DOJ) from filing a syndicated estafa case against GA executives.

The RTC judge explained that the TRO and the succeeding writ of preliminary injunction he issued in favor of GA president Delfin Lee and others charged were “in conformity to both rules and jurisprudence."

Mislang maintained that he “did not act with undue haste, much less with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the TRO but acted in good faith and in accordance with his solemn duty to dispose of matters pending before him with reasonable promptness."

Prejudicial question

Mislang said he issued his orders based upon the clearly established existence of a prejudicial question raised in a separate pending civil suit filed by GA in Makati RTC Branch 58, involving the housing developer’s bid to compel PAG-IBIG Fund to comply with various agreements allowing it to update defaulting accounts with payments or replace the defaulting PAG-IBIG borrowers with new ones.

Citing the injunction he had issued last Sept.5, the judge said: “The refusal of respondent (DOJ) to suspend its proceedings pending resolution of the prejudicial question in the civil case is a clear violation of petitioner’s right."

He explained that the TRO and injunction were necessary to protect petitioner Lee from “serious and irreparable damage" should the DOJ proceed with his criminal indictment without necessary resolution of the prejudicial question in the civil case.

Judicial protocol vs. sub judice rule

Mislang said the “higher mandate of judicial protocol viz. sub judice rule" should have tempered top government officials, including Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Francis Pangilinan and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

“As lawyers, they appear to have totally forgotten the very fundamental and elementary principle of separation of powers, professing their views evidently based on misinformation as gospel truth and supplanting their executive/legislative opinions over judicial discretion," he said.

The PAG-IBIG Fund sought to have Judge Mislang investigated on alleged violation of Article 206 (issuance of unjust order) and Article 207 (malicious delay in administration of justice) of the Revised Penal Code, as well as Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

PAG-IBIG Fund alleged that Mislang had acted in “evident bad faith and malice" and demonstrated when he issued the TRO “despite Mr. Lee already admitting filing a similar Petition to Suspend Proceedings dated 27 January 2011 based on a supposed prejudicial question before the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors and that the same has already been denied." — MRT/VS, GMA News
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