SC will look into Duterte’s complaint on TROs

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SUPREME Court (SC) Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin said the High Court will look into which particular incident triggered President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s complaint about judges issuing Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) on government infrastructure projects.

In an interview with reporters on Friday, Mr. Bersamin said “I do not know which incident the president might have been referring to. The court administrator is addressing this. I am sure of that.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Duterte said in an interview with the The Daily Tribune that he will investigate judges who release TROs on government infrastructure projects. He was also quoted as saying some judges also easily approve plea bargains in cases related to drug charges.

Mr. Bersamin added that trial court judges are well aware that the issuance of TROs on national infrastructure projects is prohibited and that they should observe this prohibition

“We have a standing order to all the trial judges and other courts to be self restrained in the issuance of TROs and they have to be mindful that we have a law really that bans the issuance of TROs and injunctive orders as far as national infrastructure projects are concerned,” he said.

Administrative Circular No. 07-99 states that issuing a TRO on cases that involve the implementation of national infrastructure projects is banned. The Circular was issued in 1999 as a directive by then President Joseph E. Estrada who asked the SC to follow the Presidential Decree 1818.

On Thursday, the SC said in a statement that all judges must practice caution and judiciousness when issuing TROs and writs of preliminary injunctions by reminding them to follow the 1999 Administrative Circular and the succeeding circulars that reinforce it. — Gillian M. Cortez