Monday, January 25, 2016

House urged to recognize Velasco as Marinduque solon

Marinduque Congressman Lord Allan Q. Velasco

THE House of Representatives is mandated to enforce the Supreme Court order to swear in Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco and include his name in its Roll of Members representing the lone district of Marinduque, according to two prominent lawyers.

In an interview, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Vicente Joyas and former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. should honor and implement the SC ruling granting Velasco’s plea for mandamus.
    
Voting 8-1 in a decision handed down last January 12, the SC ruled that the administration of the oath and the registration of  Velasco as the duly-elected congressman for  Marinduque “are no longer a matter of discretion or judgment” on the part of House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr.
    
The SC said its decision is “immediately executory.” It granted Velasco’s petition for mandamus against Belmonte, House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap, and Reginal Ongsiako Reyes, his rival who had been disqualified as a congressional candidate by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the 2013 election.
    
Belmonte and Barua-Yap “are legally duty-bound to recognize Velasco as the duly elected Member of the House of Representatives for the Lone District of Marinduque in view of the ruling rendered by this Court and the Comelec’s compliance with the said ruling, now both final and executory,” the SC said.
    
Former Integrated Bar of the Philippines national president,
Vicente Joyas

The dispositive portion of the SC decision written by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro stated:

“Wherefore, the Petition for Mandamus is GRANTED. Public respondent Hon. Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr., Speaker, House of Representatives, shall administer the oath of office of petitioner Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco as the duly-elected Representative of the Lone District of the Province of Marinduque. And public respondent Hon. Marilyn B. Barua-Yap, Secretary General, House of Representatives, shall register the name of petitioner Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco in the Roll of Members of the House of Representatives after he has taken his oath of office. This Decision shall be IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.”
 
Speaker  of the House, Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

Published reports quoted Belmonte as saying that they were “still studying” the SC decision, which he said, they received last January 18.
    
The website of the House of Representatives also showed that Reyes is still listed as Lower House’s member for the lone district of Marinduque.
    
“Since the SC ruling is final, Velasco can just take his oath and assume the position,” said Valdez, also chairman emeritus of the Association of Philippine Law Schools (APLS).
    
“Congress must follow the decision. The officers of the House of Representatives are vested by law to implement the order of the Supreme Court,” Joyas said.

University of the East Law Dean, Amado D. Valdez

 Other lawyers who requested anonymity said even if a motion for reconsideration is filed, the House of Representatives should implement the executory decision of the SC.
    
“The implementation of the executory decision of the SC is a ministerial duty on part of the officials of the House of Representatives.  There should be discretion,” they said.
    
Joyas warned Belmonte and other officers of the Lower House that contempt proceedings could be pursued against them if they would insist on defying the SC order. - Hector Lawas, Journal

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