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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

CJ in bigger trouble

Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno may have cooked her own goose in hot oil with some of her admissions in her comment.
In Sereno’s 77 page comment on the quo warranto case filed against her before the Supreme Court by Solicitor-General Jose Calida, especially on the matter of her claim on the issue of the submission of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), Sereno was quoted as saying that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) had relaxed its rules long before Sereno had applied for the top SC position, which is why her SALNs were incomplete.
What really may have even overcooked her own goose is Sereno’s claim that SC Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who testified against her in the impeachment hearings held by the House of Representatives’ justice committee, also failed to submit all her SALNs, along with other SC justices.
The other applicants besides de Castro, as claimed by Sereno, are retired Associate Justices Roberto Abad and Arturo Brion, Senior Associate Justice and acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, former law deans Raul Pangalangan, Amado Valdez, and San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.
She said they failed to submit all their SALNs to the JBC.
Some may have not submitted their SALN for 10 years or so and had to be excused, since some of the justices were in private practice for a long time before they were appointed as justices of the High Court. Others such as Pangalanan and Valdez were working in private offices and did not need to file their SALNs as applicants. Once they become public officials, however, they then have to submit their SALNs yearly.
But it is impossible that the long staying justices, whether Carpio, de Castro and others failed to submit all their SALNs while claiming that the JBC relaxed its rules on the SALN submission.
It is difficult to believe the claim of Sereno about the JBC having relaxed the SALN requirements, especially due to the fact that at that specific time, given the fact that the former chief justice, the late Renato Corona, had just been convicted by the Senate Impeachment Court precisely on the irregularities found in his SALN and all those applicants including Sereno, were applying for the vacancy in top position of the SC.
But Sereno claimed that the JBC had the authority to relax the requirement on the submission of the complete SALNs.
What is more probable is that the JBC relaxed the SALN submission requirement, just for Sereno on orders of a higher up.
However, her claim of other associate justices not having submitted their complete SALNs too can easily be known to be true or an outright lie by the justices themselves.
This would place Sereno in a really boiling oil, as she can be found to have perjured herself, among other lies with which she may have come up.
Sereno, through her lawyers, argued that resorting to a quo warranto petition in the matter of removing an impeachable public official is akin to supplanting the 1987 Constitution and existing jurisprudence.
She then appealed to the associate justices to block the attempt of Solicitor General Calida to unseat her through an administrative complaint for lack of merit and jurisdiction.
This is her defense, by way of her published prayer to the SC: the High Court’s lack of jurisdiction, as well as her defense of being an impeachable official and that she can only be impeached,citing the Constitution and its proviso on impeachments.
Both defenses, however, may not fly, considering the fact that a precedent had been established and the High Court can, and did, act on a quo warranto case that resulted in an SC decision ousting a duly elected and qualified president who was moreover not convicted by an impeachment court.
That was in 2001 and the elected president, who was impeached by the House of Representatives but not convicted by the Senate Impeachment Court was then President Joseph Estrada, now the incumbent Manila Mayor.
Then, the Davide Court came up with the doctrine of “constructive resignation,” which is not even a mode of ensuring a vacancy in the presidential seat. But the law is what the SC says it is.
Being a chief justice, it is certain that Sereno knows of that precedent in the SC. Being a CJ, she also knows that which she accuses her colleagues in the High Court on their incomplete issuance of their SALNs to the JBC, would easily be known by the justices on whether she is telling the truth or whether she had perjured herself.
Yet if she were telling the truth, this is highly doubtful as that would be akin to saying that the JBC had been giving her and her alone, what can be deemed as confidential information from other applicants’ SALNs submission or non-submission, which is foul, as the other applicants, all justices of the High Court, certainly appeared to have followed the strict JBC rules.
What is probably true is that the JBC, acting on the instructions of the then President Benigno Aquino, relaxed the rules just for Sereno, his pre-selected successor to chief justice Corona whom this vindictive president Aquino, ordered impeached and convicted.
The oil continues to boil for Sereno before the High Court.

All done in the name of politics

Tuesday, 20 March 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Ever wonder why those critics of President Duterte and his security agencies—especially the critics on his war against illegal drugs which extrajudicial killings under Duterte these usual suspects inflated to an unbelievable 20,000 EKJ?
Of course they cheered the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s pronouncement of her coming up with a primary investigation, as this provides more negative publicity. However, they now criticize Duterte for having withdrawn the country from the Rome Statute membership and automatically, the ICC.
Why do these critics continue to ask Duterte not to withdraw the country’s membership to the ICC, especially since they also point to the fact that despite a formal presidential withdrawal from the ICC, done officially through a document of withdrawal to the United Nations, which is part of the procedure, the ICC prosecutor’s preliminary examination goes on, since the effectivity of the official withdrawal takes effect a year after.
The most probable answer is that the same critics—mostly the yellow striped politicians and their attack dogs along with the usual leftists and militants, and not to forget, the lying human rights groups, all of whom have the mob mentality in plots to oust any duly elected president they don’t like—desired an extra year and even longer after Duterte steps down in 2020 to further politicize Duterte’s war against drugs and keep up with the local and international negative image of the country and its President in their bid to oust Duterte and of course, for the yellow politicians to get back to power and position.
Why, for instance, did Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his gofer, Magdalo partylister Rep. Garry Alejano, tap their lawyer, Jude Sabio to file a complaint first at the ICC, using their witness, the coached and paid Edgar Matobato, when international law and ICC experts know that the complaint will not even be touched by the ICC, given the rules of the game.
But the same critics and even their media, portray this preliminary examination by the ICC special prosecutor as the “beginning of the end” of Duterte.
They should start brushing up on the rules and procedure as stated in the Rome Statute.
First off, under the terms of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s Special Prosecutor is authorized to initiate a probe and indict, in this case, Duterte, but—and this is a BIG BUT—under the rules, it is the Rome Statute that can authorize the ICC Special Prosecutor to initiate the process of investigation upon the request of a member-state, the Security Council of the United Nations, or the Special Prosecutor herself.
The head of the member state is President Rodrigo Duterte and he certainly is not going to request an investigation on him and the country.
The Security Council of the United Nations then?
Improbable and even useless, mainly because this will never be requested by the Security Council of the United Nations. But on the possibility that it does, of what use will this request to probe the Philippines and Duterte’s war against drugs, since China and even Russia will exercise their veto power.
Of course the Special Prosecutor can initiate an investigation on her own, but again, she will hardly succeed in coming up with an investigation on this matter, mainly because her hands by the Rome Statute’s Art. 17, which is the complementarity principle which calls for the ICC to decline a case “if it is already being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution.”
One can hardly say that the Philippines courts or other bodies are unwilling or unable to investigate the issue of the war on drugs, as this has been investigated by the Philippine Senate many times over and dismissed charges against Duterte as it was proven that the witnesses of Trillanes and Sen. Leila de Lima were caught during crossexamination as “testilying.” Their evidence was fabricated.
Even the impeachment complaint against Duterte earlier lodged by Trillanes’ stooge, Alejano, in the House, was heard by the House justice panel and junked it, lacking the evidence and Alejano of not having personal knowledge of the charges he raised nor any proof to back up his charges.
Investigations of the Ombudsman, who certainly is no fan of President Duterte investigated Duterte on the false and manufactured claims engineered by Trillanes accusing Duterte of having some P2 billion in his bank account, which Trillanes, with the help of the Ombudsman, fabricated. She and her deputy falsified bank transactions of Duterte and his family members, but these were debunked by the Anti-Money Laundering Council and Ombudsman Morales’ credibility—the little she had left—was completely crushed.
The critics of Duterte, especially the yellow politicians and their attack dog, Trillanes, have also been crushed, knowing that their political ploy to make the ICC preliminary examination failed and marks their umpteenth failure at bringing down Duterte. It is the begining of the end of the yellows and their attack dogs.


Loss of trust and confidence in JBC

Monday, 19 March 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is on her way out in a few months and the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has opened applications and recommendations for the next Ombudsman, as well as opened to applicants for the position of an associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Presbiterio Velasco is due to retire by August this year.
The JBC has been in the news these days due to the controversy surrounding Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Lourdes Sereno, regarding her looming impeachment and a Senate trial and the quo warranto case lodged against her in the SC on the question of her qualifications for the post which she now holds and which the JBC has questionably included her in the list of candidates it submitted to former president, Noynoy Aquino, who then had appointed her to serve for some 20 years.
During the House justice panel’s impeachment hearing against Sereno, it was bared by JBC resource persons that Sereno had submitted to the JBC only three Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN), two of which were not even notarized while other applicants were subjected to the 10 year SALN rule, covering only applicants who have worked for the government or are working in government, such as the associate justices of the High Court, who had entered their application.
Sereno has been a government employee for years, first as a law professor in the University of the Philippines, a state university, to this time, as an associate justice and then as the High Court chief justice.
Against all qualified applicants, the JBC gave her too many questionable passes. And even more highly questionable was the fact that the JBC kept all these irregularities hidden from its panel of judges. This was clearly unfair, given that Sereno failed to meet the strict requirements.
Sereno was hardly qualified, given some mental and emotional issues that showed up in her psychiatric tests, yet she made it to the list, while others who were highly qualified and met all the JBC requirements never made it.
The claim of the JBC now headed by Sereno, is that the rules had been changed even before she had applied for the top SC post, which is probably another lie.
If so, why then was this change not made public or disclosed to the other applicants and that there was this exception for those whose SALNs have gone missing, or even SALNs that are not subscribed to, since this was allowed by the JBC in the case of Sereno?
Why did the JBC give Sereno all these free passes, for her to get the top judiciary post, including keeping all these from the JBC panel of judges, especially that of her having claimed having been “substantially complied with” all the requirements, when she hardly did?
Did the JBC act as the puppet of the former president, Aquino, who obviously pre-picked her and forced the JBC into including her in the list to be submitted to him?
It certainly looks like it. And that is very wrong because the JBC is supposed to be an independent constitutional body.
In the case of the current Ombudsman, it cannot be said that Carpio-Morales was not qualified for the post of the Ombudsman, since she was not only a court judge for years and an associate SC justice until her retirement.
However, she may also have been pre-selected by the former president for the post, perhaps knowing that he may have a lot of legal problems when he leaves the presidency.
This intention of Aquino to appoint an Ombudsman for his, and his closest allies’ protection during and even after his presidency, as well as using the Ombudsman as his tool to go after all his political foes has become too evident.
Filipinos note this in the way Carpio-Morales has been dismissing the complaint filed against him and many of his yellow Cabinet secretaries, while going all out against Aquino’s political and even judicial foes, such as then sitting chief justice, the late Renato Corona, where Carpio-Morales even perjured herself in testifying that Corona had some US$12 million in less than a hundred bank accounts, which was a lie. She even manufactured evidence, claiming that the document she held was a copy of his dollar account. This was fake evidence since under the law, such information cannot be made public unless the owner permits this.
The next time around, if the JBC members have not and will not resign despite the undue advantages they give pre-selected applicants, they should be fired.
They no longer gave the trust and confidence of the people.






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