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Arrest warrant issued vs. Serafica

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Himamaylan Regional Trial Court Judge Walter Zorilla has issued an arrest warrant against Hermenegildo Serafica, former head of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, whom he found guilty of indirect contempt.

Judge Zorilla, in his 11-page decision, sentenced Serafica to suffer the straight penalty of imprisonment for 15 days, and to pay the fine of P30,000.

Serafica was found guilty of indirect contempt by the court, for the issuance of SRA Memorandum Circular Number 11, series of 2021-2022, which violated the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Zorilla.

Court records show that Serafica, then administrator of SRA, issued Memorandum Circular No. 11, series of 2021-2022, with the subject “Resumption of Implementation of Sugar Order No. 3”, that allows the importation of 200,000 metric tons of standard grade refined sugar and bottler’s grade refined sugar on May 4, this year, despite the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction by the Himamaylan RTC on March 2, 2022.

Serafica, in his explanation, through the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) said he did not disobey, resist or otherwise violate the courts WPI order, and he acted in good faith when SRA issued MC 11, since SRA merely relied on his counsel’s advice.

MC 11 expressly excludes Region 6, the judicial region where this court belongs, from its coverage. Serafica said, pointing out that issuance of MC 11 cannot be deemed an act of disobedience of, or resistance to, or otherwise, a violation of the WPI order.

Judge Zorilla ordered any officer of law to arrest Serafica, who was found guilty of indirect contempt of court, and to commit him immediately for the Service of Sentence.*

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