A PASAY City court has stopped the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) from implementing its order for the arrest of Rose Nono Lin after citing her in contempt for failure to attend two committee hearings.
Lin, a businesswoman turned politician, was a stockholder of the already non-operational Pharmally Biological Pharmaceutical Company (PBPC), which the Senate Committee claimed was a sister company of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. (PPC), the firm which bagged the P8 billion worth of contract from the budget department for the supply of COVID-related personal protection.
In a six-page ruling issued on February 23, 2022, Assisting Judge Elenita C. Dimaguila of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 granted the petition of Lin seeking judicial relief from the alleged arbitrary order of the Senate committee.
The Court issued a 20-day temporary TRO. It directed the committee “to cease and desist from implementing the January 27, 2022 order citing the petitioner in contempt and ordering her arrest and detention at the office of the Senate sergeant-at-arms until such time that she obeys the subpoena or otherwise purges herself of that contempt…”
The same court also ordered Lin to post a P300,000 TRO-bond.
In granting Lin’s petition, the Pasay RTC has taken into consideration the evidence presented by the petitioner which was not disputed by the committee.
The Court noted that Lin has attended seven of the nine hearings of the committee, only missing the December 21,2022 and January 27,2022 but presented valid reasons which was likewise not disputed by the committee.
“Ordinarily, even in court proceedings, petitioner’s act of giving timely notice coupled withy explanation and medical certificate, of her inability to attend a scheduled hearing, is given due course and accorded weight , especially so that records would show that said petitioner has been attending the past hearings and was actively participating therein,” the court order read.
“In the present case, it is unfortunate that the respondent BRC’s (committee) decision to cite the petitioner in contempt was swayed by its misgivings on the motives of the petitioner for not obeying its directive and the doubts of the chairman and the members of the respondent BRC on the real reason for petitioner’s failure to attend,” it further said.
The committee , through their counsel, claimed that Lin choose to sumbit her documents to the court and not to the committee, which has the power to reverse or modify the ordr of contempt by a majority vote of the members.
But the Court said the committee’s argument is not quite correct. It pointed out that said Committee acknowledged that it has all received the petitioners medical certificate and result of her RT-PCR showing positive test for Covid-19 on due dates.
“However, the January 27,2022 contempt and arrest order against the petitioner was issued, still enforceable and has not been reversed or modified,” it stressed.
Based on evidence, without delving on the merits of the main case, the court said that the issuance of a TRO is warranted.
” In this case, the requisites for injunctive relief are present,” it added. “Since the petitioner may be deprived of her liberty when arrested, there is an urgent paramount necessity to prevent a serious damage.”
It further said that the injunctive remedy is a proper remedy to maintain the petitioner’s liberty while the court determines if there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part ofthe BRC when it ordered Lin’s arrest and detention and to determine whether the conduct of the online/video conferencing hearing/investigation in aid of legislation is within the published rules of the Senate.