PJA president: I don't know 'Ma'am Arlene'
MANILA - The president of the Philippine Judges Association on Monday denied knowing a certain "Ma'am Arlene", an alleged court-fixer that has been likened to pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Quezon City regional trial court branch 83 judge Ralph Lee said allegations linking him to Arlene may be related to his position as PJA president. The rumors said it was Arlene who allegedly bribed judges to vote for Lee in the PJA elections.
"Sa aming palagay ay isa etong smear campaign laban sa akin ng aking mga katunggali na huwes," he said.
Lee denied knowing Arlene or even an Arlene Angeles Lerma who allegedly left the country on October 16.
"Siya raw ang sumagot ng kwarto, parang vote-buying. Hinihikayat ang mag huwes na bumoto matapos bigyan ng kuwarto sa Manila Peninsula. Wala akong kilalang Ma'am Arlene. Wala po akong kilala na kahit pangalan niya ay hindi na umiikot. Ang masasabi ko lang po sa ating lungsod sa RTC ng Quezon City wala pong taong ganung umiikot at hindi ho ganon ang husgado," he said.
Lee noted that rumors about Ma'am Arlene circulated about 2 weeks before the PJA elections. He said the rumors were an attempt to malign him and also sullied the reputation of the PJA.
He said the rumors could be a way to malign the judiciary.
The PJA president denied being approached to favor a litigant in exchange for money. He denied that retired judges can unduly influence the outcome of a case.
The high court has already started an investigation on the actuations of “Ma’am Arlene,” tagged as the Janet Lim Napoles of the judiciary.
SC spokesperson Theodore Te stressed the work of the committee led by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is to verify if there really is such a person and whether she participated in influence peddling.
“Hence, its mandate and work continues. The committee is at the organizational stage and further announcements will be made this week,” Te said.
The Office of the Court Administrator was the first to announce an investigation on the matter. The Court of Appeals followed suit.
The influence of “Ma’am Arlene” allegedly also covers the Department of Justice and Office of the Ombudsman.