Cabanatuan judge withdraws subpoena to PSD enforcer

BAGUIO CITY – Judge Nelson V. Largo of the Municipal trial Court in Cities (MTCC) in Cabanatuan City formally withdrew the subpoena that he issued against an enforcer of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) considering that he found the documents that was submitted to his sala on his being apprehended for traffic violation as meritorious.

“Considering that necessary documents had already been forwarded to the court and finding the same to be meritorious, the required explanation is now deemed mooted. The end of justice having sufficiently met, the order dated October 28, 2019 setting the proceeding for hearing on November 29, 2019 is hereby lifted and set aside. The subpoena and scheduled hearing on November 29, 2019 is hereby cancelled,” Judge Largo in his one-page order dated November 18, 2-10.

The City Council approved a resolution declaring Judge Nelson V. Largo of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 3 of Cabanatuan City, Neva Ecija as ‘persona non grata’ in Baguio city.

Resolution No. 429, series of 2019, cited as basis Section 16 or the general welfare provision of Republic Act (RA) 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of the Philippines, which provides in part that ‘every local government unit shall exercise the power necessary for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare, promote health and safety, improve public morals, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.’

On October 25, 2019, Bernard Batnag, an enforcer of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) under the City Mayor’s Office, issued a traffic citation ticket (TCT) to the driver of an illegally parked vehicle along the Baguio City public market and for violating the pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 01, series of 2003 or the Baguio City Number Coding Scheme as amended.

The resolution stipulates that the license plate of the vehicle was thereafter confiscated by Batnag as per protocol enshrined under the city’s traffic rules and regulations.

Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong requested the city legislative body to pass a resolution condemning the alleged questionable acts of the judge and declare him as ‘persona non grata’ in the city.

The resolution notes it was later found that the illegally parked motor vehicle was owned by Judge Nelson V. Largo of the MTCC Branch 3 of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.

Asserting that the act of seizing his motor vehicle license plate violated due process, Judge Largo charged the POSD enforcer with indirect contempt and directed Batnag and the chief of traffic enforcers to appear before his court in Cabanatuan city on November 29, 2019 by virtue of a subpoena dated October 29, 2019.

Judge Largo alleged in his order dated October 28, 2019 that the confiscation of the license plate of the vehicle being issued by the court’s presiding judge evidently caused delay in the scheduled hearings, and if done arbitrarily, oppressively or without valid cause or lawful order, is illegal and downright contemptuous.

The city chief executive signed the approved resolution that will be transmitted to Judge Largo and the Supreme Court (SC) for information, guidance and ready reference./Dexter A. See