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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

CJ on the hot SC grilling seat

Saturday, 07 April 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Steep conditions have been set by the Supreme Court (SC) on its Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s quest for public oral arguments for the quo warranto case, scheduled for April 10.
The High Court insisted not only on her personal appearance, but also for her to “testify under oath” and “affirm and verify under oath the truth and veracity of the allegations in the Comment filed by counsels supposedly on her behalf,” and for the CJ to”expressly acknowledge this Court’s jurisdiction to act upon the relief prayed for, if any.”
Sereno’s appearance has been confirmed, and will be presenting her side of the quo warranto case but without prejudice to her challenge to the SC’s jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.
It is of course fairly clear that Sereno and her lawyers, are sticking to their defense that the SC has no jurisdiction over her on this specific quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-General Jose Calida.
She will continue to insist that the jurisdiction belongs to the Senate Impeachment Court as she is an impeachable officer as the Constitution states.
Her other defense, which she will be using, as her earlier comment bared, would be that the quo warranto has been time- prescribed, having been filed long after the one year prescription period. The argument of the SolGen is that the prescriptive period starts upon discovery which is just less than one year.
SolGen Calida in his reply to the CJ’s comment, already provided the reasons to justify her ouster, answering both the issues on the SC’s jurisdiction and Sereno’s claimed prescription period lapsing.
Her appointment to the High Court’s top seat was void from the start, as argued earlier by the SolGen,
The main issue that she would have to testify under oath would be centered on her failed submission of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) which was required by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Sereno will also have to testify, under oath, on the allegations raised by SolGen Calida that she had fabricated some of her SALNs.
How she can get out of this would be a wonder, considering the fact that the SolGen is presumed to have concrete evidence of the fabricated SALNs she had submitted to the JBC, especially since Calida was pretty specific about the SALNs as this is the core of his evidence to prove her utter lack of integrity due to her not having met the JBC’s requirements, which proves her appointment being void from the start, which is the reason for the quo warranto petition.
The thing is, if Sereno as much as lies under oath, she not only has to face serious perjury charges which could get her disbarred—should she be ousted through the quo warranto, or ousted through an impeachment court’s conviction.
It is obvious however, that the SC justices would know straight off whether Sereno is lying through her teeth under oath since there is concrete evidence of her fabricated SALNs, along with her two unsubscribed SALNs submitted to the JBC, apart from the cerfications from various agencies of there being no submission of SALNs from her.
Through her spokesman, Sereno also claimed that 13 SC justices as applicants to the top SC slot, failed to meet the JBC’s 10 year SALNs requirement, yet this was proven to be yet another lie, as proved by the JBC’s certifications of the over 10 SALNs submitted by Justices Antonio Carpio and Teresita de Castro.
Sereno is also expected to be asked by the SC justices to provide answers to her claim that she had been able to retrieve all her past SALNs for the years she worked at the State University, which she refused to present to the High Court, saying she will be presenting these before the Senate Impeachment Court as she claimed that the SC has no jurisdiction on the quo warranto case filed against her.
The problem with her defense on the SC not having the jurisdiction is that there are too many precedents in quo warranto cases where an elected president of the republic was ousted by the High Court, along with the disciplinary actions taken by the SC against one of its justices, as spelled out in the SolGen’s comment. Why not its Chief Justice?
But Sereno appears to have yet another ploy to escape being ousted by the Supreme Court, which is to seek the recusal of at least four SC justices who had testified against her during the House of Representatives’ committee on justice impeachment hearings.
The CJ probably wants at least four and maybe more incumbent justices to inhibit themselves since she already has at least two justices who will be voting in her favor, plus four justices inhibiting—if they recuse themselves, which they probably will not do so—she would only need to convince one more justice, should one more justice abstain to escape her ouster.
And all that is the reason for all her moves.

Yellows out to destroy foes

Friday, 06 April 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Fairly clear is that the political opposition members, most of whom are yellows and their allies, as well as some Reds, for months have been trying to get Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre ll, sacked by the President, although they appear to have been successful this time around as Aguirre has resigned and President Duterte has accepted his resignation.
The same oppositionists were relentless in blackening the Department of Justice (DoJ) chief’s reputation by ascribing to him the many alleged “blunders” committed by him, and even making it appear that indeed, Aguirre is not only incompetent, but that he also should be fired as the same yellows insist that his reputation is in shreds, as he has been linked to the extortion of P50 million from the Bureau of Immigration officers who belong to the same San Beda Fraternity Lex Tallonis.
But pause a bit and think just who have been serving as the wrecking crew against Aguirre, if not the yellows and their allies and some DoJ insiders who wanted Aguirre out. Recall that the leak on the preliminary probe on the drug lords came from insiders.
Liberal Party president, Kiko Pangilinan, reading the report that the DoJ chief is next to be axed, immediately moved to blacken Aguirre’s reputation some more.
Senator Pangilinan stated that Aguirre should not only be replaced by Duterte but also be made to face charges in court over some decisions made in the past and for issues being hurled against him, saying that it has been a long time that we (opposition) have been asking for the sacking of Aguirre. He should not only be fired, but he should also be charged with plunder and anti-graft charges for the many blunders and decisions he made as DoJ secretary.”
That’s the yellows’ trouble. They want Aguirre sacked then charged for plunder and graft, which just shows their vindictiveness and their penchant to soil reputations of their perceived foes, to the point of accusing them of plunder and graft even when there is no evidence at all that Aguirre was part of the alleged BI extortion. He was merely linked to the extortion racket by the detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
But it must be asked: What evidence does Pangilinan have to even suggest charging Aguirre with plunder or graft? What the Senate hearing suggested, even when the committees had absolutely no evidence with which to link Aguirre to the extortion racket? What Aguirre did that was made out by the yellows to be a blunder was the case of the dismissal of the drug lords, Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa. Yet this issue was already explained by Aguirre and his prosecutors, since there was no evidence submitted by the Philippine National Police that investigated the case and hence, had to be dismissed for lack of evidence.
Preliminary investigations that lead to a case dismissal are never final and can be reviewed by not only the Justice Secretary but also by the President of the Republic, which is what the law states. So why claim that this was a blunder when it still had not reached Aguirre for a review at the time?
More to the point, this black propaganda resorted to by the yellows and their yellow stained allies, both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, against not only the DoJ Secretary but also the other Cabinet secretaries they want sacked is done of course to benefity them one way or the other.
The DoJ Secretary was clearly yet another of their ploy to pressure Aguirre to quit and for his replacement to hopefully allow their yellow colleague, detained Senator de Lima to be released, as they even linked the news of Aguirre’s sacking to de Lima’s imprisonment, saying that Aguirre’s drug charges against de Lima are fake charges.
There they went again, claiming that the drug charges are fake. What’s their evidence? And are they now coming out with fake news?
But one must ask why the yellows and Aguirre critics who succeeded in getting Duterte to replace Aguirre with another candidate.
The answer would be simple. The yellows wanted Aguirre out of the DoJ because they feared the new investigation having been ordered by Aguirre on the pork barrel scam, and this time focusing the probe on the other senators and congressmen who were never probed by then Justice Secretary de Lima, and who were also protected by the yellow tainted Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio-Morales, which is also the reason the same frigging yellows were against the DoJ chief getting Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam, as a state witness, because she has a lot to testify on them as a government witness and with fingers probably pointed at some top officials of the Yellow Regime.
The yellows are vulnerable these days. Their protector, Morales is due to retire in some two months.
And definitely, the plunder charges against them won’t be fake, unlike the plunder charges filed by de Lima and Morales against the yellows’ political foes, who were the political prisoners of Noynoy Aquino and the freaking yellows.

Getting her day in court

Thursday, 05 April 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno is still into delaying Supreme Court’s decision on the quo warranto case filed by Solicitor-General Jose Calida against her that calls for her dismissal as SC chief justice on the ground that her appointment to the highest judiciary chief is void from the start due to her failure to submit a complete set of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs).
It was she who had submitted an ad cautelam motion for oral arguments before the SC that ruled in her favor. The orals have been scheduled for April 10.
Sereno wants a full public debate for the orals so both sides, especially hers, will be heard by the public.
The Court also ordered Sereno to appear before it for her to personally answer the questions from her peers.
From Sereno’s motion, it is clear that she would still question the jurisdiction of the High Court over her case and will probably argue that as an impeachable officer, it is the Senate Impeachment Court that has the jurisdiction over her case.
What is even clearer, is that Sereno, in submitting her ad cautelam motion before the SC, is in essence seeking a safety valve for her case.
“Manifestation Ad Cautelam” as lawyers translate this merely means in the case of Sereno and her lawyers, filed the manifestation or motion “for caution” so as not to forestall something for her.
Google search gives this example on ad cautelam motion, saying that such a motion may be filed if one’s “lawyer thinks his motion for extension of time may be arbitrarily denied or if he is still questioning the jurisdiction of the court, but does not want (his client) to be defaulted for failing to file an answer within the time allowed.”
The defenses that one can raise are negative or positive defenses. A negative defense is the specific denial of the material fact or facts alleged in the pleading of the claimant essential to his cause or causes of action.
An “affirmative defense” is an allegation of a new matter which, while hypothetically admitting the material allegations in the pleading of the claimant, would nevertheless prevent or bar recovery by him.”
These include “fraud, statute of limitations, release, payment, illegality, statute of frauds, estoppel, former recovery, discharge in bankruptcy, and any other matter by way of confession and avoidance.”
As an example given for a negative defense, if applied to Sereno, her defense may be to deny the claims made by Calida while an affirmative defense from Sereno may be for her to allege a new matter “which, while hypothetically admitting the material allegations in the pleadings…would nevertheless prevent or bar recovery by him.” These include “fraud, statute of limitations.. illegality… and any other matter by way of confession and avoidance.”
But can Sereno, as well as legal team believe that their public debate with the Solictor-General through her Ad Cautelam motion which would likely focus on jurisdiction as her defense or taking the negative stance, deny all the claims made by Calida in his quo warranto case, as well as the issue of the quo warranto being proscribed, given that these are the same arguments she and her legal team had already raised before the High Court in her comment which was also already replied to by the Solictor-General, with even more specific charges on her having fabricated her SALNs, which is a very serious charge.
Can she or even her lawyers believe they can get away with her “litany of lies,” as Calida has termed it, especially as some of her peers who have testified against Sereno during the House of Representatives’ justice committee sit in judgment of her?
Of course, another ploy of Sereno and her lawyers would be to seek the inhibition of the incumbent High Court justices who had testified against her, which would perhaps reduce the chances of being ousted by a full court through the quo warranto case.
There is another possibility which may or may not come about.
At this point in her life, and no matter the propaganda teams of supporters and spokesmen who have been giving the pubic misleading statements, and perhaps realizing that she would be ousted anyway despite her ad cautelam arguments, she may just opt to resign, to escape an ouster by the High Court.
But one thing she will have that which she has insisted on: Her day in Court.
And she will have it before the High Court itself on April 10.

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