ALAM files criminal corruption case vs Brillantes, et al

ALAM files criminal corruption case vs Brillantes, et al

For causing undue prejudice on Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) by means of removing its name from Slot No. 34 of the Official PCOS ballot, the partylist applicant for registration and accreditation decided to file a criminal case of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.

Earlier, ALAM filed a disbarment complaint against Brillantes, et al, except for Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, the latter being not a lawyer.

To read the entire criminal complaint, the same is pasted below:

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Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila



ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM)
represented by ATTY. BERTENI
CATALUÑA CAUSING,
Complainant,

-versus-                                                          BAR MATTER NO. ___________
                                                                                                                                               

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC)
CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES JR., RENE
V. SARMIENTO, COMMISSIONER LUCENITO
N. TAGLE , COMMISSIONER ARMANDO C.
VELASCO, COMMISSIONER ELIAS R. YUSOPH,
COMMISSIONER CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM,
and COMMISSIONER MARIA GRACIA CIELO
“GRACE” PADACA,
Respondents,
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Republic of the Philippines                               )
City of Manila                                                    )SC


Criminal Complaint
for
Violation of Section 3 (e), RA No. 3019


          I, ATTY. BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING, of legal age, whose postal address is at Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila, under oath, do hereby depose and state:

1.     I am executing this Complaint for Violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 against the commissioners, former commissioners and the chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec);

2.     I am filing this in compliance with the demand of the Board of ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), a partylist applicant denied accreditation and registration by the respondents, to fulfill its resolution for the filing of the complaint against the Chairman of the Commission on Elections, the Commissioners of the same Commission, and the former Commissioners;

3.     Thus, this is being filed in representation of ALAM NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM) and I, being a lawyer and its president, have been designated to prosecute the desire of the Board and authorized to file the necessary case and all other actions that are implied and necessary for the fulfillment of this desire;

4.     Rest assured, however, that this is not personal to me and that I am only obligated by my duty as the one being commanded to do necessary steps so that the desires and the demand for justice of ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM) will come to fruition;

5.     A copy of the Board Resolution commanding me to file this case is attached hereto as ANNEX “A”;

6.     ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM) filed on 30 March 2012 a petition for accreditation as a partylist group for the 2013 Partylist Elections;

7.     After due notice and hearing, the Second Division of the COMELEC issued a resolution promulgated 12 September denying the application of ALAM, which resolution was received by ALAM on 20 September 2012;

8.     A copy of the Resolution of the Second Division denying the application for accreditation of ALAM is attached hereto as ANNEX “B”;

9.     Seasonably, ALAM filed on 24 September 2012 a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental motion for reconsideration;

10.            The hearing for the motion for reconsideration was held;

11.            As required, ALAM filed its memorandum;

12.            The COMELEC Second Division  issued a resolution promulgated 12 November 2012 denying the motion for reconsideration;

13.            A copy of the En Banc Resolution where only Commissioners Yusoph and Lim favored ALAM’s motion for reconsideration is attached hereto as ANNEX “C”;

14.            Aggrieved by the decision of the Commission En Banc, ALAM filed before the Supreme Court a Petition for Review and for Certiorari and Prohibition;

15.            A copy of the main petition is attached hereto as ANNEX “D”;

16.            In response thereto, the Supreme Court issued a resolution dated December 4, 2012 directing, among others, for all parties to observe the Status Quo prevailing before the COMELEC issued the 12 November 2012 Resolution  denying ALAM’s motion for reconsideration;

17.            A copy of the same order is attached hereto as ANNEX “E”;

18.            The respondents received a copy of the said Supreme Court order;

19.            Among the most significant events that occurred before the 12 November 2012 Resolution that denied the motion for reconsideration of ALAM was Comelec Resolution No. 9467 that was promulgated by the Comelec on 15 June 2012;

20.            A copy of Comelec Resolution No. 9467 downloaded from the website of the Comelec, found particularly on this site http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=Elections/2013natloc/res/res9467&bn=2013+National+and+Local+Elections+|+Resolutions&b=Elections%2F2013natloc%2Fres%2FresoTOC%26toc_search%3D9467%23ps2668 is attached hereto as ANNEX “F”;

21.            The pertinent part of Comelec Resolution No. 9467 is Section 1, which reads:

SEC. 1 Requirement. – Only party-list groups/coalitions accredited by or duly registered with the Commission and which have manifested their desire to participate in the party-list election, may participate in the raffle for purposes of determining their order of listing in the ballot. However, party-list groups/coalitions whose petitions for accreditation have been denied by the Commission and have pending petitions before the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Commission shall also be allowed to participate in the raffle.
22.            On 19 December 2012, the respondents as the Chairman and Commissioners passed Comelec Resolution No. 9591 to amend Resolution No. 9467, and this Comelec Resolution can be downloaded from this website,  http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/Elections/2013natloc/res/com_res_9591.pdf;

23.            A copy of Comelec Resolution No. 9591 is attached hereto as ANNEX “G”;

24.            The amendment effectively excluded ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM) from getting allowed to participate in the raffle for the placement in the official PCOS ballot;

25.            The respondents through the Comelec website issued notices announcing the names of the partylist groups allowed to take part in the raffle set for 4 January 2013, in the afternoon;

26.            ALAM’s representative and secretary general Edwin R. Alcala, assisted by Atty. Cirilo P. Sabarre, Jr., attended the raffle and he was made to pick up or draw the number and ALAM picked No. 34;

27.            While the raffle was being conducted, Comelec Chairman Brillantes expressed his anger that the partylist groups issued Status Quo Orders but were denied earlier by the Comelec were able to pick up their slot numbers;

28.            It was a Friday when the raffle was held;

29.            On the next Monday, 7 January 2013, the respondents passed Comelec Resolution No. 9604, excluding ALAM and 12 other partylist groups similarly situated or that were also issued with a Status Quo Orders;

30.            A copy of Comelec Resolution No. 9604 is attached hereto as ANNEX “H” and can be downloaded from this Comelec site http://www.comelec.gov.ph/uploads/Elections/2013natloc/res/com_res_9604.pdf.;

31.            It is therefore very obvious that despite their knowledge about the Status Quo Orders and the knowledge about the existence of Comelec Resolution No. 9467 that they themselves made, the respondents had malice or bad faith in issuing Comelec Resolution No. 9604 to exclude ALAM from the official PCOS Ballot;

32.            Also, the acts of the respondents are contemptuous, the reason that ALAM filed a motion for contempt before the Supreme Court;

33.            A copy of the motion for contempt is attached hereto as ANNEX “I”;

34.            The acts of the respondents are BLATANT VIOLATIONS of the Status Quo order issued by the Court in a joint Resolution dated December 4, 2012 in a consolidated case that included this petition docketed General Registry No. 204139;

35.  These respondents actions in signing Resolution No. 9604 is an act that caused undue prejudice to Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) and 12 other partylist groups situated similarly as ALAM’s;

36.            The violation was blatant and offensive to the conscience of justice blatantly disobeying the Supreme Court’s Status Quo Order and heavily tainted with bias against ALAM;

37.            In committing grave abuse of discretion that even an elementary lawyer knows not to be committed, it is now clear that the respondents deliberately committed the act that caused undue prejudice against ALAM;

38.            Additionally, the respondents are charged with the knowledge that the COMELEC has been sternly warned by the Supreme Court for not including in the PCOS ballot partylist Philippine Guardian Brotherhood, Inc., yet they committed another disobedience to the Supreme Court;

39.            This case where the Comelec was first warned against repeating the same act is entitled PGBI vs Comelec, G.R. No.  190529, March 22, 2011;

40.            The dispositive portion of this promulgation by the Supreme Court reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Comelec Chair35 and Members36 are hereby found GUILTY of CONTEMPT of the Supreme Court for their disobedience to our lawful directive, specifically the Status Quo Order dated February 2, 2010. They are accordingly SEVERELY REPRIMANDED for this disobedience. They are further WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely in the future.

The Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. shall be deemed not to have transgressed the participation and level of votes requirements under Section 6(8) of Republic Act No. 7941 with respect to the May 10, 2010 elections.

SO ORDERED.

41.            To put it directly, despite the clarity of the meaning of the phrase “STATUS QUO”, it being easy to understand even by high school students, the respondents BLATANTLY DISOBEYED the “STATUS QUO ORDERS”;

42.            The BLATANT DISOBEDIENCE TO THE SUPREME COURT was committed NOT ONLY ONCE BUT 13 TIMES because the respondents committed the same act of stripping ALAM and 12 other partylist groups WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW;

43.            As such, they also committed CULPABLE VIOLATION of the Constitution that is sufficient to be a ground for impeachment of the respondents, except for Sarmiento and Velasco whose terms have already expired;

44.            The respondents did not even require any explanation from ALAM and 12 other partylist groups to explain why they should not be excluded from the partylist elections of 2013;

45.            Moreover, these officials of the Commission committed the acts of prejudicing ALAM and 12 other partylist groups in exceeding dispatch in order for the respondents to succeed in their malicious design or predetermination to disqualify Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) and the rest of the “Lucky 13”;

46.            While the drawing of lots was yet drawing to a close in the afternoon of January 4, 2013, Chairman Brillantes already announced that it was a big blunder that the “Lucky 13” was included in the raffle;

47.            Right there and then, he announced to the media that he will schedule an en banc session for the purpose of excluding ALAM and 12 others;

48.            January 4 was a Friday and he got no more time. 

49.            In the morning of Monday, January 7, 2013, he made true his announcement: they promulgated Resolution No. 9604, excluding ALAM and 12 others on the ground that these should be excluded on the basis of their Resolution No. 9591 promulgated on 19 December 2012. 

50.            Days before this January 7 resolution was promulgated, Chairman Brillantes was issuing statements to the media that partylist groups that are in the class of ALAM, those that were denied by the Comelec but issued a Status Quo order by the Supreme Court cannot participate in the raffle unless these can obtain a MANDATORY INJUNCTION from the High Court.

51.            That he did it despite his knowledge that IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A MANDATORY INJUNCTION because this is issued only after the case is terminated;

52.            He knew that the petitions of these “Lucky 13” groups had just been filed and the Comelec through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had not yet even submitted its comment to the petitions of those partylist groups that have run to the Supreme Court as the last bastion of justice;

53.            Nevertheless, although Brilliantes also issued pronouncements to the media that they were confused by the meaning of Status Quo orders, he cannot feign ignorance because he is a lawyer and a bar topnotcher at that;

54.            All the other commissioners aside from Commissioner Padaca are topnotch lawyers, too.

55.            As such, it is impossible for them not to understand the legal meaning of Status Quo order;

56.            If at all, they intentionally did that act of promulgating Resolution No. 9604;

57.            Hence, it is very clear that the respondents must be disbarred for setting a bad example to the lawyers;

58.             It is very obvious that this act of the respondents were impelled by the motive of revenge;

59.             ALAM exposed the attempted try by three employees of the Comelec to extort THREE MILLION PESOS (₱3,000,000.00);

60.             This exposition angered Brillantes and company as proven by several news clippings published on the internet and elsewhere;

61.             Stories on the bribery were also published online and offline;

62.             Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 is hereby quoted, as follows:

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

63.             From the circumstances narrated above, it is very clear that the injury caused on ALAM and all its members and officials are undue, in other words they did not deserve it;

64.             The bias is also manifest considering the fact that the Comelec commissioners got mad at ALAM for exposing the bribe try in exchange for registration and accreditation;

65.             The bad faith is also evidence from the same circumstances;

66.             Even if the respondents would say they forgot about Comelec Resolution No. 9467, still it will constitute gross inexcusable negligence;

67.             ALAM and its officials and members had spent so much time, energy and money in prosecuting the desire of ALAM to be registered and accredited as a partylist group for the May 13, 2013 elections;

68.             In view of the foregoing premises, there is no doubt that the respondents are guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019;

69.              Worth mentioning here is that this complaint for criminal violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 must be given due course because it is not inconsistent with the Constitutional provision that Comelec chairman and commissioners can be removed only by means of impeachment; and

70.              This is so because criminal violations when prosecuted do not automatically mean removal from the position of impeachable officers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I sign the instant criminal Complaint for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 on this _____ July 2013 in Manila.


BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
Affiant

          SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE me on this ___ of February 2013 in Manila, affiant exhibited his IBP ID No. 60944. I further certify that I examined the affiant and I am satisfied that he read and understood the affidavit and that the same is his voluntary act.
Doc. No:    ____;
Page No.:   ____;
Book No.:  ____;
Series 2013.
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Republic of the Philippines                       )
City of Manila                                               )SC

Verification & Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping

            I, Berteni Cataluña Causing, of legal age, Filipino, whose postal address is at Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila, under oath, hereby depose and state:

1.      I am the representative of ALAM in the foregoing Complaint for Disbarment;
2.      I read and understood the same;
3.      The contents therein are true of my personal knowledge and based on authentic records;
4.      I certify that other than the Complaint for Disbarment that I filed in the Supreme Court where the relief prayed for is different, I have not filed in any other venue and jurisdiction any action having the same facts, laws involved, and reliefs prayed for;
5.      Should I learn of one such action, I undertake to inform the Court in five (5) days from notice.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I sign the instant Complaint on _____ July 2013 in Manila.


BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
Affiant

            SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE me on this ___ July 2013 in Manila, affiant exhibited his IBP ID No. 60944. I further certify that I examined the affiant and I am satisfied that he read and understood the affidavit and that the same is his voluntary act.
Doc. No:         ____;
Page No.:       ____;
Book No.:      ____;
Series 2013.

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