CA junks TRO plea of alleged Mary Jane Veloso recruiters
The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a request from the alleged recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino drug convict in Indonesia whose execution last year was put on hold, to temporarily stop the illegal recruitment case filed against them.
In a two-page resolution, the CA Special 17th Division said suspects Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao failed to show that there was an urgent need to issue a temporary restraining order against the criminal case and their arrest.
"A mere possibility of an irreparable damage without proof of an actual existing right is not a ground for injunction. We find that petitioners failed to discharge this burden," read the CA ruling.
"There is no clear showing that petitioners have sufficiently alleged a clear and unmistakable right and that there is an extremely urgent and paramount necessity for the issuance of a TRO," it added.
The CA clarified that only the petitioners' plea for a TRO was denied, and that the merits of the actual petition have yet to be decided on.
The CA, meanwhile, ordered the family of Veloso to file a comment on the petition of Sergio and Lacanilao, who in turn would be given five days to reply to the comment.
In its petition, Sergio and Lacanilao claimed their constitutional rights were violated because their warrantless arrest and the finding of probable cause were "procedurally infirm."
They said they were suffering irreparable damage due to the "sham inquest proceedings."
The criminal case against Sergio and Lacanilao was filed with the regional trial court in Baloc, Nueva Ecija.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad in Indonesia for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin in April 2010. Her execution was put on hold at the last minute last year following widespread appeals, including from the Philippine government.
Sergio and Lacanilao turned themselves in to local police in Nueva Ecija on April 28, the day of Veloso's supposed execution for drug smuggling.
Indonesian authorities agreed to hold off Veloso's execution so she could testify in the ongoing investigation against her recruiters in the Philippines.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, the Veloso family's legal counsel, said the CA's ruling will allow legal proceedings to continue.
He added that the TRO, which he said had no legal or factual basis, was a misplaced attempt by the accused to defend themselves.
"We welcome this expected ruling as the prayer for TRO is bereft of any legal or factual basis, nay designed to deny reality by misplaced legal acrobatics by accused," Olalia said. —with Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News