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SC justices who ousted Sereno face impeachment complaints

/ 02:14 PM August 23, 2018

Representatives Edcel Lagman, Teddy Baguilat, and Gary Alejano file impeachment complaints against Supreme Court Associate Justices who voted to oust ex-Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. /PHOTO: Gabriel Pabico Lalu, INQUIRER.net

Lawmakers from the House of Representatives filed impeachment complaints against the seven Associate Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Representatives Edcel Lagman, Tomas Villarin, Gary Alejano and Teddy Baguilat, Jr., filed complaints against Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, and Noel Tijam, before the Office of the Secretary-General.

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“Seven out of the eight Associate Justices who voted to oust Chief Justice Sereno in a controversial petition, quo warranto, are now facing impeachment before the House of Representatives,” Lagman said in a press briefing after the filing.

Lagman said the associate justices’ decision was not only errant and orchestrated but also a violation of Article XI, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which states that Chief Justices may be removed through an impeachment process.

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“[We] asserted that the seven justices committed a culpable violation of the Constitution because they are fully aware that impeachment is the only process of removing impeachable officials, like the Chief Justice,” he claimed.

“A petition for quo warranto or any other vote of removal is anathema to the mandate of the constitution that the power to impeach is solely vested with the Congress,” he added.

On May 11, the SC granted the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General against Sereno.

In a landmark decision, the justices voted 8-6 in favor of the petition and for the first time in Philippine history, a Chief Justice was ousted through a legal proceeding other than impeachment.

Lagman also elaborated why former Associate Justice Samuel Martires was not included in the complaints.

“Ombudsman Samuel Martires was one of the eight justices who removed Sereno [but] was not included in the complaint because he is no longer an incumbent associate justice,” Lagman explained.   /vvp

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