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Landgrab case records sought

[ manilastandardtoday.com ] October 1, 2011

Rep. Winston Castelo, of Quezon City 2nd District, wants the immediate release of all court records on the alleged landgrab case of a prime property in Quezon City, noting that the documents are public records requring no prior clearance by a higher government agency.

In a statement, he said the refusal of QC Judge Tita Marilyn Payoyo-Villordon of Regional Trial Court Branch 224 and her clerk of court Arnulfo Mendieta to turn over records to the House of Representatives was tantamount to violating the constitutional right of people to information on matters of public concern.

Castelo said Villordon was ignoring the House subpoena duces tecum to submit all court records of the case allegedly committed by a certain Wilfredo Torres and his cohorts.

The judge claimed the Supreme Court’s approval was needed for her to authorize release of dicuments in a court proceeding.

Under its rules, Congress may subpoena important documents in the exercise of its lawmaking powers under the Constitution and anybody who defies or ignores this congressional power could be cited for contempt and face imprisonment.

Castelo has filed a resolution calling for a congressional probe “in aid of legislation” of the landgrab case involving a 23-hectare prime property, where at least six villages, a seminary, a builders’ depot, and a children’s school are located. The real estate property is in Culiat district, which is part of Castelo’s political constituency.

As one of the authors of the Freedom of Information bills, he urged Congress leadership to expedite approval of a consolidated version, stressing that its enactment would put an end to all attempts by unscrupulous elements to capitalize on the legal loophole. Rio N. Araja

Earlier, Castelo filed House Bill 2128, which acknowledges the right of the people to information and full public disclosure of all government transactions. Rio N. Araja
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