Catanduanes SP seeks to relieve Judge Lelu from post

Judge Lelu Contreras
Photo courtesy of Ramil Soliveres
VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard)— In an unprecented move, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Catanduanes approved on March 13 a resolution requesting the Supreme Court (SC) for the immediate relief of RTC Judge Lelu Contreras from her position as Executive Judge and Presiding Judge of Branch 42 of the Regional Trial Court here.

Provincial Board member Giovanni A. Balmadrid was the principal sponsor of the said resolution.

The resolution was unanimously approved.

Balmadrid said the basis for this urgent request is primarily the loss of trust and confidence upon the judge in the performance of her job as magistrate.

In the early part of the deliberation of the resolution, Board Member Raffy Zuniega attempted to refer the matter first to the justice committee of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

However, he was not able to get the support of his colleagues outright as the majority member of the said board rejected his proposal.

Aside from Balmadrid, the other co-sponsors of the resolution were Arnel B. Turado, Jose Romeo R. Francisco, Lorenzo T. Templonuevo Jr., Gregorio E. Angeles and Joseph Al Randie B. Wong.

It will be recalled that name of Judge Contreras was repeatedly mentioned during the congressional inquiry held here two weeks ago.

The judge was blamed for the alleged intentional delay in the issuance of the search warrant against the owner of the shabu laboratory that was discovered at Brgy. Palta Small here.

Earlier, Contreras aired her side on the matter, saying that the application for the issuance of the search warrant was filed with her sala late in the afternoon.

This, she said, is the reason why it took a little while before she could issue the said order.

In a related development, Judge Contreras informed the members of the media that she is calling for a press conference on March 15, 2017, at 4 p.m. so she can explain her side on the issue.

Initially, she said that she had already published a letter in a local newspaper in Virac, regarding the issue about the issuance of the search warrant for the drug laboratory.