Associate Justice Sereno scolds Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez

Remember when Midas Marquez went on TV to announce that the Supreme Court denied the motion for reconsideration of the TRO on the Watchlist Order on Gloria and added that the TRO was in “full force and effect” and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the administration would wait for the hard copy of the resolution rather than rely on the word of Marquez?

It turns out that Lacierda had a good reason to doubt Marquez.

Here’s why:

From the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno (FULL TEXT HERE)

C. Effectivity of the TRO

The majority, by a 7-6 voting, denied the minority’s proposition that a resolution be issued including a phrase that the TRO is suspended pending compliance with the second condition of the 15 November 2011 Resolution. The majority argued that such a clarification is unnecessary, because it is clear that the TRO is conditional, and cannot be made use of until compliance has been done. It was therefore the sense of the majority that, as an offshoot of the winning vote that there was failure by petitioners to comply with Condition Number 2, the TRO is implicitly deemed suspended until there is compliance with such condition. Everyone believed that it would be clear to all that a conditional TRO is what it is, conditional.

Below is the relevant excerpt from the Special Power of Attorney dated 15 November 2011, the failed compliance of petitioners with Condition Number 2 in our Resolution dated 15 November 2011:

That I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, of legal age, married, Filipino with residence at 14 Badjao Street, Pansol, Quezon City, do hereby name, constitute and appoint ATTY. FERDINAND TOPACIO, likewise of legal age, Filipino, with office address at Ground floor, Skyway Twin Towers, H. Javier St., Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila, as my legal representative in the Philippines and to be my true and lawful attorney-in-fact, for my name, place and stead, to do and perform the following acts and things, to wit: Dissenting Opinion 8 G. R. Nos. 199034 and 199046
1. To sign, verify, and file a written statement;
2. To make and present to the court an application in
connection with any proceedings in the suit;
3. To produce summons or receive documentary evidence;
4. To make and file compromise or a confession of judgment
and to refer the case to arbitration;
5. To deposit and withdraw any money for the purpose of any
6. To obtain copies of documents and papers; and
7. Generally to do all other lawful acts necessary for the
conduct of the said case. (Emphasis supplied.)

While this opinion was being written, Court Administrator and Acting Chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Atty. Midas Marquez informed the press that the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was effective, i.e., “in full force and effect.” Contrary to this interpretation, as stated, it was the understanding of a majority that the TRO is “suspended pending compliance” with our earlier Resolution.The operational ineffectivity of the TRO is implied – for it is a basic principle that the failure of petitioners to comply with one of the conditions in the Resolution dated 15 November 2011 is a jurisdictional defect that suspends, at the least, the effectivity of the TRO. Therefore, the TRO, until faithful compliance with the terms thereof, is legally ineffective. It was a human mistake, understandable on the part of the Clerk of Court, considering the way the TRO was rushed, to have issued the same despite non-compliance by petitioners with one of the strict conditions imposed by the Court. Nevertheless, good faith and all, the legal effect of such non compliance is the same – petitioners cannot make use thereof for failure to comply faithfully with a condition imposed by this Court for its issuance.

The Court Administrator cum Acting Chief of the PIO is hereby advised to be careful not to go beyond his role in such offices, and that he has no authority to interpret any of our judicial issuances, including the present Resolution, a function he never had from the beginning.

Furthermore, it is hereby clarified that it is mandatory for the Clerk of Court to ensure that there is faithful compliance with all the conditions imposed in our 15 November 2011 resolution, including our second condition, before issuing any certification that the compliance with the TRO has been made, and only then can the TRO become effective.

Associate Justice

Eh hindi lang pala spokesman ng Supreme Court etong si Marquez, abogado din pala ni Gloria Arroyo. Kaya pala ang kulit-kulit at pinagpipilitan na sundan ng administration yun order ng court based on his press conference. Everything Midas touches turns into a golden lie. And the spokesman for the Coronarroyo Court keeps crying rule of law and threatening Justice Secretary De Lima with contempt. Well, Midas contempt like respect is earned. And you really earned it in this case. You and the effing Arroyo servants that you serve.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.