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Carpio: SC statement not a mutiny vs CJ

The unprecedented joint statement of 13 Associate Justices of the Supreme Court clarifying that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is taking an indefinite and not a “wellness” leave was not a mutiny but an act to “preserve the integrity” of the SC, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said yesterday.

The SC earlier issued a statement signed by 13 of the 15 Associate Justices saying they reached a “consensus” that Sereno should take an indefinite leave.
Carpio said in a television interview SC members are not ganging up against their Chief Justice but that they merely wanted to insulate the High Court from the effects of the politics of an imminent impeachment trial.
“There was a discussion (among the SC Justices) on how best to preserve the integrity of the Supreme Court, how to insulate the Supreme Court from the trial, from all of these political moves, and at the end of the day there was an agreement that she will go on leave with her consent and agreement,” Carpio said.
The sole function of the statement, he said, was to show the SC is “functioning normally” while Sereno goes on leave.
Carpio said that Sereno herself agreed to the suggestion that she takes an indefinite leave of absence.
“The basis for that indefinite leave is the consensus of all the justices including the Chief Justice, so it’s voluntary,” he said.
Sereno spokesman Jojo Lacanilao said in a press conference Sereno was taking a “wellness leave.”
Sereno thereafter apologized for what she called as “inaccuracy” in stating the nature of her leave which Sereno said she needed to prepare for her legal defense for the Senate impeachment trial.

Quo warranto is plan B
Members of the political opposition at the House of Representatives accused the Duterte administration of resorting to extra constitutional means to remove Sereno.
Ifugao Rep Teddy Brawner Baguilat said that even without consummating charter change, this administration is hell bent on rewriting the Constitution by trying to remove the fiercely independent Chief Justice through unconsti-tutional means,” Baguilat said.
Baguilat also tagged the House Committee on Justice as a kangaroo court which failed to build up a case against Sereno
“Despite the multiple attacks on the CJ’s person, the Kangaroo Court in the Committee on Justice has not build up a credible case of impeachable offenses committed by CJ Sereno,” Baguilat added.
The opposition lawmaker said that the quo warranto case now filed before the Supreme Court was triggered by the weak case of the justice panel.
“Thus, the administration doubts it can swing enough votes to oust Sereno in the Senate and is now resorting to this dubious quo warranto petition,” the Ifugao lawmaker said adding that the quo warranto case was a last ditch effort to remove Sereno.
Sereno’s camp said the Supreme Court ought nor entertain the quo warranto petition for it has absolutely no basis in law and in the Constitution.
“The High Tribunal should dismiss the petition outright on the basis that quo warranto is not a proper remedy. Under the 1987 Constitution, the Chief Justice may only be removed from office upon impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court,” lawyer Josa Deinla said.
The instant action for quo warranto against the Chief Justice is devoid of basis, not to mention that the one-year prescriptive period for filing such action has long prescribed pursuant to Section 11 of Rule 66 of the Rules of Court.
The Supreme Court, guided by its pronouncements in Jarque v. Ombudsman, In Re: Raul M. Gonzales and Cuenco v. Fernan, had laid down the rule that an impeachable officer, who is a member of the Bar, cannot be disbarred without first being impeached. The same principle applies to the quo warranto case filed against the Chief Justice. As pointed out in Cuenco v. Fernan, to grant a complaint for disbarment of a member of the Supreme Court—particularly then Associate Justice Marcelo Fernan, who later became Chief Justice— during his incumbency, would in effect be to circumvent and hence to run afoul of the constitutional mandate that members of the Court may be removed from office only by impeachment for and conviction of certain offenses listed in Article XI (2) of the Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution is crystal clear: it explicitly states that (1) an impeachable official can only be removed from office by impeachment; (2) that the sole power to impeach an official belongs to the House of Representatives; and (3) the sole court for impeachment trials is the Senate. Any attempt to remove the Chief Justice that does not fall under these parameters is patently unconstitutional. All attempts to unseat the Chief Justice via extra-constitutional means make a mockery of the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives and, subsequently, the impeachment trial in the Senate.
“We wish to reiterate that this latest action by the Solicitor General is part and parcel of the grand plan to harass, malign and humiliate the Chief Justice to force her to resign because her detractors know that the impeachment case, which was built on lies, won’t stand a chance in the Senate,” Sereno’s camp said.
The Chief Justice is ready to face trial and disprove all allegations against her before the Senate, which is the only body or institution that can remove her from office via two-thirds vote of all its members. She will not back down in her fight for truth and justice.
The best act of kindness to the Chief Justice is to transmit to the Senate the articles of impeachment expeditiously if they find probable cause in the committee and vote for impeachment in the plenary. The most cruel act they can inflict on the Filipino nation is to pressure the Supreme Court to substitute impeachment with quo warranto. Why are they afraid of a Senate trial? Sereno’s camp said.
Prosecution panel formed
The House Committee on Justice has formed an 11-man House prosecution panel ahead of a vote the by the Justice panel on whether of there is probable cause to pursue the impeachment complaint before the Senate.
The Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is also ready for transmittal to the Senate which will act as an impeachment court.
A highly placed source privy to the impeachment process said members of the prosecution panel will be named before the House goes on a Holy Week break.
“From forty names, it is now significantly reduced to less than fifteen names,” the House source said.
Last Sunday, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice, bared that he and House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas will be named to the prosecution panel.
The source said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will be the manager of the prosecution panel.
Umali said he will be the lead prosecutor.
The said those likely to be named in the prosecution panel are: Deputy Speaker and South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, Ako Bicol party-list Re. Alfredo Garbin, Compostella Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, ABS party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera, 1-Ang Edukasyon party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro, SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon and Leyte Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso.
Oaminal, Leachon and Veloso, vice-chairmen of the House committee on justice are also expected to be named as prosecutors.
Tugna and Agabas are being considered for being part of a previous impeachment that ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona who was convicted by the Senate Impeachment Court in May 2012.
Earlier reports also claimed that Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep.Gwendolyn Garcia could be named as spokeswoman of the House prosecution panel.
Quo warranto precedent warned
Senate leaders, meanwhile, warned against the legal consequences of the quo warranto petition.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said such move, if entertained and acted favorably by the high tribunal, will open the same process to other impeachable officials, including the President.
“It’s a slippery slope. They must be prepared to accept the same petition for all impeachable officers,” he said.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III acceded to the assertions of his colleague adding it will “also weaken the Senate in the process.”
“In effect, it is not only impeachment conviction which removes from office these high ranking officials, meron pa palang ibang paraan, which is not obvious from the Constitution,” he added.
Pimentel himself expressed apprehensions on the legal move of Soliticor General Jose Calida although he admitted that there’s no barring the latter in filing such petition, which seeks to nullify Sereno’s appointment.
Pimentel stopped short of calling what he descrined as “very unusual” move of Calida as unconstitutional.
“Under the Constitution, the meaning of the provision literally is that once in a position, the high ranking government officials can only be removed from their positions through impeachment. So if you invent some other proceeding which will result in the removal from office, then that should violate that provision in the Constitution,” he said.
“Let me express the apprehension that the moment the SC entertains and rules on this – that is has the power to, in effect, dismiss the Chief Justice – that same rule applies to them. That same rule will apply to heads of various constitutional bodies, including the COA (Commission on Audit), Comelec (Commission on Elections), the Vice President and even to the President, because these are all impeachable officers, who can now be subject to a quo warranto petition. This is a slippery slope that can set a precedent. Extra care must be exercised by the Supreme Court. But as I’ve said, the ball is in teir court and it is up to them to decide,” Drilon, in a separate interview, said.
Angie M. Rosales


  • peter alagano

    No prescription of the charged as it was only dicovered and ventilated during the Impeachmenjt Committee hearing that this kapalmukz Lady Fake Justice did not comply with the strict requirements of SALN when she applied for the position of CJ. Therefore, her appointment is void from the very beginning Duer to her MENTAL IMBALANCED as attested by PSYCOLOGIST along the way, she committed "KABALASTUGAN" like purchasing luxury vehicle for her use, withheld survivorship benefits, hired expensive IT Consultant without Diploma and acting alone many times disregarding the SC en Banc to name a few. That paved the way for Quo Warranto..HOY BUGOS CJ RESIGN...

    peter alagano Tuesday, 06 March 2018 16:53 Comment Link
  • mamoy

    First off, Abnoy knew that Sereno was and is not qualified but he appointed her anyway. But granting He didn't know and just recently the entire Filipino nation has known about it, how should the case be resolved in both instances?
    Abnoy's appointment of Sereno did not correct the mistake incurred from the very beginning hence there is nothing to impeach.
    Dumb and dumber?

    mamoy Tuesday, 06 March 2018 12:03 Comment Link

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