Drilon: Separation of powers blocks Senate from acting on Sereno ouster
After criticisms were hurled at the Senate for its alleged inaction on former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ouster, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the separation of powers between the legislative and judiciary prevents solons from interfering.
“Papaano po namin ipaglalaban ‘yon (impeachment proceedings), dahilan sa ‘yong kaso ay nasa Supreme Court, may separation of powers kami,” Drilon said in an interview with DWIZ on Saturday.
Drilon reacted to comments raised by some groups that the Senate could have filed a resolution to block the Supreme Court from deciding on the quo warranto petition.
“Unang-una, wala kaming session, papaano kami magpa-file ng resolution? Pangalawa, ‘yan ay resolution lamang, at nagpasya ang Korte Suprema that they would take jurisdiction. Magkakaroon ng krisis kung ipipilit,” Drilon said.
“‘Yan ay resolution lang, ‘hindi naman po namin pwedeng i-pilit ang Korte Suprema na galangin ang impeachment power ng Senado,” he added.
According to Drilon, even if such a resolution was filed, it would have no sense at all because only senators belonging to the minority might sign it.
“We can express our sense of the Senate, kami po sa minorya, the six of us, ang amin pong posisyon ay dapat, ang tamang paraan ay sa Senado through an impeachment court. Ngunit anim lang kami, at ‘yong pagpasa ng resolution ay kailangan ‘yong mayorya,” he said.
Sereno was ousted from office on Friday, after the Supreme Court (SC) justices en banc voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Several law professors and deans of law schools have earlier stressed that Sereno could only be removed from office by way of an impeachment trial as the 1987 Constitution only allows the removal of a sitting chief justice through impeachment.
Drilon also added that Senate also cannot act on the impeachment proceedings if the House of Representatives would not endorse any complaint.
“Ang impeachment complaint po ay manggagaling sa House of Representatives, kung wala pong complaint na na-file sa amin, ano po ang gagawin ng Senado?” Drilon said.
“Kailangang i-file ‘yong complaint sa Senado so that we can acquire jurisdiction. Ngayon, eh kung walang na-file sa amin, walang inakyat na impeachment complaint, ano po ang aming tatalakayin?” /muf
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