Saturday, August 09, 2008

Court of Appeqals Controversy No. 11: Second day of hearing

The inquirer reporta on the proceedings of the second day of hearing by the investigating panel on the CA controversy. Click here.

La Vida Lawyer notes these highlights:

Answering a series of questions from Callejo, she said she signed the copies of a supposedly final decision on the Meralco case that Roxas had brought to her office on July 8 even without deliberations being conducted on it. She said it was the usual practice in many divisions.

Callejo reminded her that was contrary to court rules.

Vidal justified her decision to sign, saying that she believed Roxas when he said it was “a matter of urgency.”

But when Callejo asked what the urgency was about, Vidal replied she did not ask Roxas. She later added that it was “for Justice Roxas to answer,” eliciting laughter from the audience. Callejo was not amused.

“Do not just rely on the word of our colleagues; you must conduct your own research and study so that we can serve the people judiciously. Otherwise you’ll only be a robot,” Callejo said.


Callejo also asked why Vidal signed the copy even if a pending motion for Roxas to inhibit himself remained unresolved.

“It was improper for the court to proceed with the hearing without Justice Roxas resolving the motion,” he said.

Vidal replied that she brought the decision home, studied it and did her own research. She said she agreed with its contents. She said she gave the decision back to Roxas the next day and was hurt when she found that another division came out with a decision and that the documents she had signed were mere drafts.

It turned out that deliberations on the case were conducted by Reyes and Roxas, together with Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr. The Eighth Division eventually came out with the decision dismissing the case in favor of Meralco on July 23.

Callejo said he hoped Vidal learned her lesson and the latter also apologized for the lapses she had committed.

And then there was the question of Roxas’s traveling bag.

According to Vidal, Roxas was carrying the “voluminous” records of the case when he went to her office to personally bring her the copy of the decision that he had penned.

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