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G.R. No. 200238 - Concurring Opinion Re PSBank TRO

G.R. No. 200238 - Concurring Opinion Re PSBank TRO

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Published by BlogWatch.ph

The view expressed that the majority’s TRO is “a mockery of all existing laws designed to insure transparency and good governance in public service”[27] is likewise not well taken. This view declares that “the majority ruling advises all government officials and employees that they can legally evade reporting their actual assets in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth x x x by simply opening foreign currency deposit accounts with local banks.”[28]

The majority makes no such ruling in granting the TRO. The question the Court has resolved for now is whether the facts and the law justify the issuance of a TRO. The object of a TRO, as earlier mentioned, is to simply maintain the status quo. The TRO, to be sure, is not a ruling encouraging public officials to use foreign deposits to legally evade the correct SALN report. To so claim is to extend the import of TRO beyond its clear objective to maintain the status quo.

In light of these considerations, I reiterate my vote for the grant of the petitioner’s prayer for the issuance of the TRO.

The view expressed that the majority’s TRO is “a mockery of all existing laws designed to insure transparency and good governance in public service”[27] is likewise not well taken. This view declares that “the majority ruling advises all government officials and employees that they can legally evade reporting their actual assets in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth x x x by simply opening foreign currency deposit accounts with local banks.”[28]

The majority makes no such ruling in granting the TRO. The question the Court has resolved for now is whether the facts and the law justify the issuance of a TRO. The object of a TRO, as earlier mentioned, is to simply maintain the status quo. The TRO, to be sure, is not a ruling encouraging public officials to use foreign deposits to legally evade the correct SALN report. To so claim is to extend the import of TRO beyond its clear objective to maintain the status quo.

In light of these considerations, I reiterate my vote for the grant of the petitioner’s prayer for the issuance of the TRO.

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Published by: BlogWatch.ph on Feb 14, 2012
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G.R. No. 200238 - PHILIPPINE SAVINGS BANK and PASCUALM. GARCIA III, as representative of Philippine Savings Bank andhis personal capacity
,
Petitioners
,
v
.
SENATE IMPEACHMENTCOURT
,
consisting of the Senators of the Republic of thePhilippines, acting as Senator Judges, namely Juan Ponce Enrile,Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Vicente C. Sotto III, Alan Peter S.Cayetano, Edgardo J. Angara, Joker P. Arroyo, Pia S. Cayetano,Franklin M. Drilon, Francis G. Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III,Gregorio B. Honasan II, Panfilo M. Lacson, Manuel M. Lapid,Loren B. Legarda, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Sergio R. OsmeñaIII, Kiko Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph G. Recto,Ramon Revilla, Jr., Antonio F. Trillanes IV, Manny Villar, and theHonorable Members of the Prosecution Panel of the House of Representatives,
 Respondents
.Promulgated:February 9, 2012X --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- X
CONCURRING OPINION
 
BRION,
 J 
.:
 
I concur with the majority‘s ruling to issue a temporary restraining
order (TRO) in favor of petitioner Philippine Savings Bank against theSenate Impeachment Court.The Rules of Court declare that a preliminary injunction may beissued when the following grounds are established:
SECTION
 
3.
 
Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction
.
 — 
x xx
 
 
(a)
 
That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and thewhole or part of such relief consists in restraining thecommission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, orin requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for alimited period or perpetually;
 
(b)
 
That the commission, continuance or non-performance of theact or acts complained of during the litigation would probablywork injustice to the applicant; or
 
(c)
 
That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, oris attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done,some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of theapplicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding,and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.
The Rules further require that a hearing be conducted to allow anapplicant the opportunity to establish any of the above grounds, and theparty sought to be enjoined (after due notice) to contest the same.
 Nopreliminary injunction may issue until a hearing is conducted. Prior tothe hearing, however, prevailing circumstances may require interventionby the Court to at least preserve the
status quo
until the merits of theprayer for a preliminary injunction is heard. Thus, the Rules authorizethe court to issue a temporary restraining order when there is
extremeurgency
and the
applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparableinjury
. In other words, the purpose of the temporary restraining ordergoes no further than to preserve the
status quo
until the hearing of theapplication for preliminary injunction which cannot be issued
ex parte
. However, the issuance of the TRO should be justified by the
existence of extreme urgency and a grave violation of the applicant‘s
right that will cause him irreparable injury if the other party is notenjoined. A review of the facts and the applicable law convinces me thatthese standards prevail in the present case.
 RA No. 6426 provides for the absolute confidentiality of foreign currency deposits
 
 
 The subject matter of the subpoenas issued by the Senate sitting asan Impeachment Court are five
foreign deposit accounts
with petitioner,all allegedly in the name of Renato C. Corona. Republic Act (RA) No.6426, as amended, is the law applicable to foreign currencydeposits.
 The law provides for the
absolute confidentiality of foreigncurrency deposits
, as stated in Section 8:
Section 8.
 
Secrecy of foreign currency deposits.
 – 
 
All foreigncurrency deposits
authorized under this Act, as amended by PD No.1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under PD No.1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an
absolutelyconfidential nature
and,
except upon the written permission of thedepositor
, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined,inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau oroffice whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any otherentity whether public or private;
Provided, however,
That said foreigncurrency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, orany other order or process of any court, legislative body, governmentagency or any administrative body whatsoever. (
 As amended by PD No. 1035, and further amended by PD No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.
)
 RA No. 6426 guarantees a clear right to the depositors anddemands an exacting obligation from banks to maintain the absoluteconfidentiality of the foreign currency deposits.
The failure of a bank tofulfill its obligation under the law subjects the bank and its officialsto criminal liability under Section 10 of RA No. 6426,
 and itsauthority to accept new foreign currency deposits may be revoked orsuspended by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas under Section 87 of theManual of Regulations on Foreign Exchange Transactions.
 More
than this, the bank‘s failure in its obligation – 
given media coverage andthe non-legal slant it can give
 – 
 
gives rise to a real danger that the bank‘s
reputation may suffer. In a very bad situation, the effect goes beyond the
 bank‘s reputation and can adversely affect the economy.
 The only exception provided by the law is when there is a writtenpermission by the depositor.
Jurisprudence declares that ―[t]here is only

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