Solons Urged to Respect Supreme Court Decision; on Bail for Jimenez in Extradition case.(Main News)
Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING & MARIO B. CASAYURAN
Malacanang told congressmen sympathetic to Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez yesterday to respect the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) on his extradition case and let justice takes its course.
Malacanang made this appeal after Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen threatened to stop the Executive branch from arresting Jimenez by citing in contempt those who will cause his arrest.
"It would be to everybody's interest if we would simply uphold the rule of law - no more, no less," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a news briefing.
Although Malacanang respects the growing support of Jimenez's colleagues in Congress for the beleaguered congressman, Bunye said, the government is duty-bound to uphold the rule of law and implement the extradition treaty with the United States.
"The law should apply uniformly to everyone regardless of his station in life," he said.
Bunye said the Department of Justice (DoJ) will pursue the extradition of Jimenez, who is wanted in the United States on 47 counts of alleged offenses, including conspiracy to defraud the US government, tax evasion, fraud, and illegal campaign contributions.
"The extradition treaty between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines has the force and effect of law and this must be upheld," he said.
Justice Secretary Hernando Perez was determined to enforce the the arrest of Jimenez after the Supreme Court cancelled the P1-million bail he posted with the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).
In a radio interview with DZRH, Secretary Perez said his department will now wait for the Manila RTC to issue a warrant of arrest for Jimenez.
"Pero kung hindi naman papayagan pa at hihintayin iyong 15 days ay susunod kami sa ating husgado," he said, referring to the SC's decision giving Jimenez 15 days from Sept. 24 to file a motion for reconsideration.
Allies of Jimenez in the House had earlier threatened to file impeachment charges against eight justices of the High Court who voted to cancel his bail.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said yesterday members of Congress should give due respect to the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes as he suggested that the congressmen-sympathizers of Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez who is now lengthy extradition proceedings rethink their anti-judiciary positions to avert a constitutional crisis.
More than 70 congressmen have threatened to block the arrest of Jimenez or any move to implement the decision of the Supreme Court which was to cancel his (Jimenez's) P1 million bail. The decision means Jimenez can be detained or placed under custody pending the resolution of the extradition proceedings.
Opposition Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, chairman of the Senate constitutional amendments committee, supported the Drilon view that the Congress and the Supreme Court have co-equal powers and are independent branches of government.
Angara and Drilon suggested that congressmen-sympathizers of Congressman Jimenez "rethink that decision because Speaker Jose de Venecia has already expressed his view on this matter and we should not provoke a constitutional crisis."
The De Venecia statement called on members of Congress to back off from the Supreme Court decision.
Asked whether or not the move by some members of the House of Representatives to protect Mr. Jimenez is a violation of the RP-US extradition treaty, Drilon said that it is "precisely the issue before the Supreme Court as to whether or not the provision in the treaty which allows detention pending a hearing is valid."
"That is why I am saying that we should respect the decision of the Supreme Court, because in the Supreme Court is lodged the authority to interpret our laws, not in the Senate, not in Congress. …