CA doctored records?

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — EVEN court records were “doctored” just to favor the Manila Electric Company.

The clerk of court of the Court of Appeals’ Eighth Division yesterday admitted before the Supreme Court’s three-man panel probing the bribery scandal that she was kept in the dark by the division justices on their supposed deliberations conducted prior to the promulgation of the decision on the case last June 23.

Lawyer Teresita Custodio disclosed that there are no records that will support the claim of 8th Division Presiding Justice Bienvenido Reyes, one of those who signed the ruling, that deliberations were made.

Aside from Reyes, the other members of the 8th division are Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Vicente Roxas, who wrote the decision.

Retired Associate Justice Romeo Callejo, Sr. questioned Custodio after noticing that there were no transcripts or stenographic records of the deliberations attached to the rollo of the case that was submitted to the panel.

The clerk of court confessed that she could not find any transcript or stenographic records of the supposed deliberations. She added that she was not asked to be present or any of the division’s staff to record the deliberations.

“I wasn’t there when they deliberated. I was never informed of any deliberation. I cannot find any transcript of the deliberations prior to the final deliberation,” Custodio told the panel.

Callejo noted that the July 14 transcript of the deliberations of Reyes, Bruselas and Roxas, was the only transcript attached to the rollo.

Without the transcripts, Callejo said Reyes’ claim that there were deliberations made on the Meralco case may be considered “a falsification.”

The panel was also notified by Presiding Justice Conrado Vasquez, Associate Justices Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal and Jose Sabio that the copies of the July 14 transcript attached to the affidavit of Roxas that was provided them had no initials compared to the one attached to the rollo.

After verification, Callejo agreed that there seems to be two versions of the July 14 transcript.

The Supreme Court created the panel to probe the claim of CA Justice Jose Sabio that he was offered P10 million by Meralco to drop the case involving the power firm and the Government Service Insurance System.