MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Court of Appeals has dismissed a petition filed by a former Makati vice mayor in relation to the libel complaint filed against him by Vice President Jejomar Binay more than 20 years ago.
In a ruling penned by Associate Justice Pedro Corales, the CA Special Eleventh Division junked a petition for certiorari filed by Roberto “Bobby” Brillante that assailed the June 15, 1992 hold departure order issued against him by the Makati Regional Trial Branch 145.
The RTC issued the HDO after Binay filed five counts of libel against Brillante, who in 1988 claimed in an open letter to then-President Corazon Aquino that Binay, who was then Makati OIC, was plotting the assassination of Augusto Syjuco.
Syjuco and Binay, at the time, were both mayoral candidates in Makati.
Court records showed that the open letter soon made it to several newspapers, with Brillante even holding a press conference in January 1988 where he accused Binay of not only plotting an assassination, but also of terrorism, intimidation and harassment of the Makati electorate.
Brillante also claimed Dr. Nemesio Prudente, then-President of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and his former aide Francisco Baloloy, were part of the meeting where the supposed assassination plot was hatched.
The Makati RTC eventually convicted Brillante of libel, finding malice in the statements that he claimed were based on intelligence information.
The CA later upheld the conviction, and in October 2004, the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the criminal conviction of Brillante and ordered him to pay Binay and Baloloy P500,000 for moral damages with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
In its latest ruling, the CA said the Makati court was correct in preventing Brillante from leaving the country after he failed to pay the fine imposed on him over the libel case.
“With Brillante’s failure to pay the pecuniary liabilities imposed upon him, the RTC acted within the ambit of law when it denied his motion to lift the HDO,” read the ruling, issued last week but released to the media on Tuesday.
“To countenance such refusal and simply allow Brillante to travel abroad would render nugatory the imposition of subsidiary penalty in case he fails to pay the fine imposed upon him,” the court stressed.
Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela concurred in this ruling.(MNS)