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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

A matter of time for Sereno

Tuesday, 03 April 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

It would be extremely difficult for Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno to keep on lying to the Supreme Court and to the Filipino people in general, after Solicitor-General Jose Calida in his most recent reply filed before the SC the Lenten break, established her “litany of lies.”
Calida accused the Chief Justice of fabricating her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for 2006 during her application for the SC as associate justice seat in 2010.
“When Sereno resigned in June 2006 as a UP professor, she should have submitted a SALN as of 2006. Her 2006 SALN, however, bears no stamp receipt from UP, was only signed on July 27, 2010, the same day that she submitted it to the JBC and was not notarized,” he claimed.
He also noted that Sereno’s SALN for 1998 was filed only in 2003, or five years beyond the period required by law and Sereno’s 2009 SALN was also filed on June 22, 2012, or three years late.
More fabricated documents establish strong evidence as these are composed of lies, her manufacture of several SALN documents and perjury.
Sereno, perhaps in her haste to save her judicial hide by lying and manufacturing SALN, was not careful at all.
Calida pointed out that “the 2009 SALN reflects that she was holding the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, when in fact, she was only appointed on August 16, 2010,” adding that “the truth, however, is she failed to file her SALN 11 times... These are perjurious acts which bolster Sereno’s utter lack of integrity.”
Despite Calida’s expose on Sereno’s evident absence of integrity, her spokesmen continued with their misleading statements in her defense full of lies, making it appear that Calida had it all wrong.
But for Sereno, her spokesmen and propaganda team, along with the anti-Rody media and critics rooting for her, it certainly looks like her days as the chief magistrate are numbered.
It will now be a question of whether she wants to be ousted by the High Court, or if she resigns, to save face, despite her insistence of pressing for an impeachment trial.
That her days may be numbered can be gleaned from the latest move from the SC en banc authorizing Associate Justice Noel Tijam to scrutinize records of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) pertinent to the quo warranto petition filed by SolGen Calida against Sereno, according to the Manila Times.
Tijam was reported to have been tasked to study the case against the chief justice and for him to write a recommendation whether Sereno should be sacked from office for her failure to file her SALN.
Justice Tijam has the full approval of the High Court en banc to investigate the matter and for him to look into the credentials of Sereno as well as pore over the documents that she had submitted, including her SALNs, to determine if the chief justice lied to the JBC and if there are grounds for the High Tribunal to rule that her appointment was void from the start.
The report said the SC expects to come out with a ruling on whether it has jurisdiction on the case during its summer session in Baguio City this month.
The SC justices will also decide if they should give due course to the quo warranto case against Sereno, given her claim that she can only be ousted through an impeachment trial by the Senate.
But for Calida, he appears firm in his conviction that Sereno had flunked the test of integrity when she failed to file more or less 10 SALNs, as she stressed that members of the judiciary must be persons “of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”
On the jurisdiction issue, this appears to be a foregone conclusion that indeed the SC has jurisdiction over the quo warranto case filed by the SolGen before the High Court , given the many precedents established by the SC itself, as Calida had enumerated in his reply to Sereno’s comment.
The precedents can be found in earlier quo warranto SC decisions that ousted then President Joseph Estrada with the invented ground of “constructive resignation”; the question of then unelected president Cory Aquino being given legal status. and an even stronger decision ousting from the roster of SC justices, then associate SC Justice Renato Reyes.
What else is needed for the SC to establish its jurisdiction over the chief justice who clearly has been lying through her teeth and manufactures evidence to get her off the hook?
And in the event that the SC does dismiss the case against Sereno, does the High Court really expect that the people will continue to have faith and confidence as well as respect the Court, with its lying and manufacturer of evidence back at the helm of the SC?

Spurned foreign bullies exposes loss of clout

Monday, 02 April 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

It’s not just the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) but also the European Union, along with local and international Human Rights Groups that demand for the Philippine government, through its various agencies to drop the drug charges against Sen. Leila de Lima and immediately release her from detention.
Yet these are the same bodies that are vociferous in their verbal attacks against President Duterte, claiming that under his stewardship of the Philippines, he has not followed the rule of law, among other attacks.
Clearly, however, it is they who openly disrespect our laws, our Constitution and most especially, our courts, including the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
The IPU issued a resolution criticizing the Philippine Senate for not taking a firm stand favoring de Lima, saying that the Geneva based legislative body “regrets: the Senate’s refusal to take a firm stance favoring the senator’s direct participation in the Senate’s most important work and expressed the hope that the Senate will finally be act in solidarity with de Lima.
Senate president Koko Pimentel said that the IPU apparently does not understand the Philippine Constitution, explaining that parliamentarians have immunity from arrest in some countries, which only parliament can waive, but that is not how it works in the Philippines, adding that “they do not understand that we do not have the same rule here.”
It is certain however, that the IPU and its members are aware of our laws and our Constitution, even they come up with resolutions which are clearly against our laws and our constitution and worse, they certainly know that they are meddling into the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
As Pimentel pointed out: “If they insist that we observe their rules then they are insulting us and not respecting our sovereignty to determine our own rules. Our basic rules can be found in our Constitution,” he said.
The IPU was slammed for not respecting the Supreme Court decision on the detained de Lima, pointing out that despite the IPU having been informed of our Supreme Court’s decision not to set de Lima free, the IPU disagreed with the Court’s decision.
“Why does the IPU feel that they know Senator de Lima’s case better than our Supreme Court and other courts which have heard and studied her cases up to the minutest detail?” Pimentel noted.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the IPU should first educate itself before making such statements.
It was pointed out that the resolution of the IPU exposed the ignorance of the workings of the Philippine Justice system and an affront to the country’s sovereignty.
Panelo noted that the senator was accorded due process, saying that a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction issued a warrant for de Lima’s arrest after a judicious determination of the existence of a probable cause for a drug related case filed against her.
“No one is above the law. Her being a senator cannot shield her from the majesty of the law,” said Panelo, stressing that the IPU demand for the Philippine Senate to ensure the participation of de Lima in the Senate deliberations “is an outright and outrageous intrusion into the internal affairs of the state as well as an affront to our sovereignty.”
Even a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (IDPs) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who has been listed as a terrorist by Duterte, claimed that the administration of Rody has become “authoritarian” and repressive” saying that the Philippine president controls the parliament” and that his government filed an impeachment case against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It has imprisoned another woman who is a senator. So it’s going against the different institutions, government branches that should balance the executive,” Corpuz said.
Isn’t she saying that chief justices and senators as well as presidents are above the law?
Why then didn’t she and other rights groups, IPU, UN and EU not raise a cry when three opposition senators and even a Philippine president was imprisoned when clearly, the rule of law and the Constitution were thrown out of the window as the yellow mob rule was upheld and selective justice was applied by de Lima and the Ombudsman, not to mention the yellow president, Noynoy Aquino, who was the US puppet in the Philippines?
The real problem really stems from the fact that at almost every turn, the President, his officials, the Senate majority and the House of Representatives, have all spurned the requests and demands of these very biased and unfair local and international human rights groups, the IPU, the EU other meddling international bodies which irks them knowing that their power to influence decisions made by the Philippine government has evaporated under the Duterte reign.

The sooner, the better

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 00:00 Published in Commentary

It’s fairly strange that there seems to be silence on the part of Chief Justice on indefinite leave Lourdes Sereno’s spokesmen, as well as Sereno herself, after Supreme Court (SC) acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio produced the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC)’s certification of his having submitted 14 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs).
The Sereno spokesmen are usually very quick to rebuff whatever is alleged by other persons who had testified against against their principal, Chief Justice Sereno, during the House justice panel hearings and elsewhere.
There was only silence from the quarters of the CJ on leave.
Again there was silence after Associate Justice Teresita de Castro produced the JBC certification that the justice had submitted to the JBC 15 SALNs, which certainly are a lot more than what is required under the JBC rules but just yesterday, there went Sereno’s spokeswoman, with a convoluted explanation of what she called the “misconceptionn JBC’s SALN requirement, making it appear that the rules were suddenly changed for all since Justice Abad did not have 10 years of being in government.
It does seem that Sereno was not even truthful with her lawyers and spokesmen, since she was feeding them with her lies, and deliberate lies too, as her lies are being exposed and proven by justices Carpio and de Castro’s number of SALNs submitted to the JBC.
How then can her legal team defend her, when she does not appear to be truthful even with her own lawyers? Despite the convoluted explanation by Sereno’s spokeswoman, the fact is that Sereno failed to provide even the recent SALNs, two of which were not subscribed, which is a useless documents.
Whether it will be the quo warranto case before the Supreme Court or the Senate Impeachment Court, it will be very difficult for her legal team to defend her in either court.
Does Sereno really believe she can get away with her preposterous claims, making her colleagues look like hypocrites and liars while making herself out as a Chief Justice who has been denied all her basic rights, and even calls for her supporters to defend democracy that she says is being destroyed by the High Court by taking on the quo warranto case to oust her, instead of letting her prove her innocence before the Senate Impeachment Court, insisting that she, being an impeachable official, can only be tried by the Senate court.
But Sereno is also not likely to get away with her blatant lies even in the Senate, although she may think that she would be able to get away with it, since there may be enough numbers from her yellow president’s allies, despite some of them being former yellows, but still a yellow at heart.
If such a situation occurs, assuming that Sereno is not ousted through the quo warranto case and will be facing the Senate this year, does she really think she can get away with the same lies too, apart from more charges from the House of Representatives leveled against her in the Articles of Impeachment? And the House has solid evidence with which to get the Senate to convict her.
It would be difficult for any senator to vote for her acquittal, considering that her lies are being proven to be just what they are: lies.
Twice, it has been proven through the JBC certifications that Sereno made up her claims of at least 14 applicants, including herself, for the position of the top SC post, having benefited from the “relaxation” of the strict rules of the JBC, saying in her comment to the quo warranto case filed against her by the Solicitor General, Jose Calida, that it was not only she who had benefited from this but also the 13 applicants.
The problem is that it appears that the JBC relaxed its required submission of their 10 year SALNs only for Sereno, who has been in goverment for 20 years or so.
How then did Sereno get away with not meeting the JBC requirements but was included by the JBC in the shortlist that was submitted to the then President Noynoy Aquino?
Did she have that much of a clout over the JBC even when she was merely an applicant at that time that they included her in the shortlist despite the fact that she shouldn’t even have been considered, given that she virtually flunked her psychological and psychiatric tests, as well as her not having met the strict requirement of the JBC on the submission of her SALNs. Any of the charges in the Articles of Impeachment can get her convicted.
Even worse, she submitted only three SALNs, two of which were not even notarized, which means that whatever is stated in the two unsubscribed SALNs, probably have bogus contents and by having the two fabricated and unsubscribed SALNs, she would have been found guilty of perjury.
The JBC even went to the extent of hiding all these facts from the JBC panel of judges. Why has the JBC allowed itself to become so prostituted under the yellow regime and by one who obviously was not qualified to lead the SC?
It would be better for Sereno to resign. The sooner the better.

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