Baguio declares Cabanatuan judge persona non grata

BAGUIO CITY— After the Supreme Court ordered a trial court judge in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija to explain his side over his alleged arrogance, the city council here has passed a resolution, declaring Judge Nelson Largo of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch III of Cabanatuan City as persona non grata.

“As an officer of the court wherever you are, you should maintain the proper decorum. In short, a mere violation of a law is sanctioned, he knows that, the ethical standard of a lawyer,” said Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, in a telephone interview on Tuesday night.

Olowan, a lawyer, said the measure was authored by all members of the legislative body and approved during the regular meeting last Monday.

He said Largo issued a subpoena for Baguio’s personnel of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) to appear before his court and failure will be a direct contempt of court.

“That is a gross violation of the law because in the first place, if he is questioning the ordinance, then his action is to file a case against the city or question the legality of the law, but what he did is to take the law in his own hand and he used his power and summoned our employees. Parang hindi tama yun, parang lahat tayo ang tinatamaan doon dahil we are the officers of the city (That seems improper. It appears to be that it would put us all in a bad light because we are officers of the city),” Olowan said.

He said base on their investigation, Largo was arrogant when he went to the police station after learning that his plate number was confiscated and was issued a citation ticket due to a parking and coding violation on Abanao Street last Oct. 25.

“Base pa sa investigation natin, nagwala-wala siya sa police station (Base on our investigation, he made a scene while at the police station),” Olowan said.

After several days, Bernard Batnag, a POSD enforcer who issued the citation ticket and confiscated the vehicle license plate of Largo, was issued a subpoena from Cabanatuan judge, prompting the Baguio City government to bring the matter to the Supreme Court.

In the past, the city council had also declared persona non grata television and movie personality Candy Pangilinan for her comment about Igorots.

Olowan said the declaration on Pangilinan was lifted after she appeared to the city council and apologized and committed to helping the city.

“We are just human beings naman, yung may kasalanan nga pinatatawad natin but (we forgive those who did us wrong) but of course that is a warning to him [Largo] but it is not an assurance that it will not be again repeated,” the vice mayor said.  Liza Agoot / PNA –