Lawyers puzzled by Malacañang ‘Plan B’ to oust Corona in case of acquittal
MANILA, Philippines—“What is this ‘Plan B’?” an organization of lawyers and judges are asking, after they recalled that Malacañang mentioned this plan late last year in case Chief Justice Renato Corona is acquitted by the impeachment court.
“It’s very hard and difficult to equate (Plan B) to our understanding of the law. The only way to remove the chief justice under the Constitution is through impeachment or through his voluntary resignation. We don’t know of any other way,” Integrated Bar of the Philippines Executive Director Roland Inting said in a statement.
Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte late last year disclosed a contingency plan, or Plan B, in case Corona is acquitted.
“There’s no other constitutional way of removing the chief justice other than those two (impeachment and resignation). Whatever that other way is – that Plan B, if they really said that – only they know,” said Inting, former governor of IBP Western Visayas.
Inting’s statement was echoed by members of the Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines (MetCJAP) who pointed out that “the only process sanctioned by the constitution to remove the chief justice is by impeachment. Any plan B or contingency plan to remove him if he is acquitted is of course unconstitutional,” MetCJAP president and Cagayan de Oro City Judge Cesar Merlas said.
The IBP has created a special team to closely monitor the upcoming impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona in the Senate.
IBP National President Roan Libarios said their regional governors had unanimously agreed to establish an IBP impeachment communications group composed of volunteer lawyers tasked “to inform the public on the impeachment and its effects on judicial independence.”
The IBP, composed of over 40, 000 members, earlier denounced the speedy impeachment of Chief Justice Corona, which they believe treaded on the powers and prerogatives of the judiciary under the Constitution.
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