Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has had enough of the gimmicks of supporters of Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who is facing multiple charges after Proclamation 572 was issued, as he gave a stern warning against exerting pressure on the judge trying his case.
Guevarra said those engaged in such antics can be slapped with contempt of court.
A small group of Trillanes supporters brought a dozen of sunflowers bearing cards that say “rule of law,” “judicial independence,” “justice” and “truth,” in front of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 which is presided by Judge Andres Soriano.
“That’s exactly the kind of pressure that has been exerted upon Judge Soriano. Some people have made it appear that any ruling against Sen. Trillanes will be a deathblow to democracy and the rule of law,” said Guevarra.
“Even a first-year law student will tell you that such acts tending to influence the decision of the judge are a clear and punishable case of contempt of court,” reiterated Guevarra.
The Justice chief said such acts might influence the decision of the judge with regards to the pending motion for the issuance of a warrant of arrest and hold departure order against the senator in connection with his coup d’etat charges.
On Sunday, Guevarra who told reporters covering the justice beat to enjoy their weekend suddenly sought an apology for disturbing reporters’ quiet weekend to issue a statement.
This after Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said in a University of the Philippines Hotel forum that the government is pressuring the Makati RTC judge to issue a warrant of arrest against Trillanes.
Guevarra said he finds it unfair that the camp of Trillanes continually makes adverse statements against the government side.
A bit too far
“Come to think of it, they are the ones clearly trying to influence the decision-making of the judge. The Department of Justice (DoJ) has not engaged them in sub judice argumentation in the media but they’re just going a bit too far,” Guevarra said.
Judge Soriano, according to reports, left his office in Makati City past 11 a.m.
Guevarra maintained that the DoJ does not interact with the judge except through pleadings filed and arguments raised in open court contrary to the allegations of Alejano, who is also a Magdalo putschist prior to his election as a partylist representative.
While Trillanes managed to post bail in the case of rebellion at the sala of Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, the coup d’ etat charges at the sala of Judge Soriano is non-bailable.