The legislative body is acting as a quasi-judicial body for the administrative case filed by the city local government unit (LGU) against Biongan.
The city government, through its counsel, City Prosecutor Al Calica, filed charges of gross negligence, dereliction of duty, dishonesty, and disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines against Biongan.
During the hearing Tuesday, Biongan, through his lawyer, Vicente Andiano, said he does not recognize the body’s jurisdiction over his case.
Andiano said they filed the petition in court at around 4:15 p.m., on Tuesday, two hours after the hearing at the SP.
Andiano said Biongan was forced to file the petition because the SP has allegedly abused its discretion.
“Certiorari is a remedy taken by an aggrieved party when a judicial or quasi-judicial body acted without or in excess of jurisdiction of with grave abuse of discretion and there is no speedy remedy,” Calica explained.
But while Calica and the complaint considered the filing of the petition a ‘strategy’ or ‘tactic,’ the defense counsels deemed it part of the ‘legal means’ that must be exhausted in order to defend the rights of their clients.
Andiano said that because they already filed the petition in court, they would no longer appear in any hearing of the SP.
“This body has no longer jurisdiction over this case. The moment we filed the petition, this body has been divested of its authority over this particular case,” Andiano stressed during a radio interview.
But City Councilor Dina Espina, a lawyer who chairs the quasi-judicial body, said Section 17, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, states that “the petition shall not interrupt that course of the principal case, unless a TRO or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued against the respondent from further proceeding in that case.”
Espina even warned Biongan that if ever his counsels made a mistake by taking this ‘strategy’ or the filing of the petition for certiorari, “he would be bound by that mistake.”
Espina said the body is resolute to complete the hearing of the case before the SP adjourns for the Christmas break.
The body has given Biongan December 17, 18, and 19 to present his evidences. “In the event that Biongan fails to present the evidence, his case is deemed submitted for decision, even without him presenting the evidence,” she stressed. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)