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Habeas suit dismissed after 3 Bucor officials freed

The Court of Appeals has dismissed for being “moot” the petition for habeas corpus filed by three officials from the Bureau of Corrections seeking their release from Senate detention after they were cited in contempt by the senators.

In its three-page resolution released on Thursday, the CA’s Sixth Division ruled that the petition for habeas corpus filed by BuCor medical officer Dr. Ursicio Cenas, lawyer Fredric Anthony Santos, and documents processing chief Ramoncito Roque was “dismissed and considered terminated.”

The BuCor officials filed a petition for habeas corpus asking the appellate court to nullify the order of the Senate citing them in contempt and order their detention.

According to them, their detention was unlawful and a violation of their rights.

In its ruling, the CA said they were informed by Major General Rene Samonte Jr., of the Senate Office sergeant-at-arms, that the petitioners had been released by virtue of a release order issued by Senator Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

“In their comment dated October 3, 2019, signed by Senate Legal Counsel Maria Valentina Santana-Cruz, respondents pointed out that the instant petition for habeas corpus had been rendered ‘moot and academic with the release of petitioners voluntarily by respondents on September 19, 2019, or even before the Honorable Court’s issuance of its Preliminary Citation on September 20, 2019.’ Accordingly, they prayed for the dismissal of the instant petition for being moot and academic,” the appellate court stressed.

The three BuCor officials were detained by the Senate for eight days or from Sept. 12 until 5:10 p.m. of Sept. 19 for reportedly being evasive when asked about the anomalies inside the New Bilibid Prison, particularly on the sale of the good conduct time allowance in the BuCor.

On Sept. 18, the three went to the Court of Appeals through a writ of habeas corpus. 

After two days, the appeals court issued a preliminary citation and gave the respondents 10 days from receipt to show cause why the writ of habeas corpus should not be issued.

In his return, dated Oct. 3, Samonte informed the CA they had already set the petitioners free.

The resolution was issued by CA’s Sixth Division chaired by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr. and its two members Associate Justices Eduardo Peralta Jr. and Ruben Reynaldo Roxas.

Topics: Court of Appeals , Bureau of Corrections , Ursicio Cenas , Fredric Anthony Santos , Ramoncito Roque
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