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14 senators ask SC to review Sereno ruling

/ 07:00 AM May 17, 2018

INDEPENDENCE LOST? Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno talks to her supporters after her colleagues in the Supreme Court kicked her out on Friday.—JOAN BONDOC

A majority of the senators have banded together to ask the Supreme Court to review its decision to unseat Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition and defend the Senate’s jurisdiction over impeachable officials.

Fourteen of the 23 senators have signed a resolution requesting the Supreme Court to review its May 11 ruling, and Sen. Risa Hontiveros has urged more of her colleagues to join them.

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“The Senate has the duty and responsibility to formally communicate with the Supreme Court and ask it to review its decision and restore balance among the different coequal branches of the government,” Hontiveros, one of the signatories to the resolution, said in a statement.

The other 13 senators who signed the resolution were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino, Ralph Recto, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara and Loren Legarda.

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A source said other senators may sign the resolution on Thursday.

Citing the Constitution, the resolution says the Senate has “the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.”

It says the Supreme Court decision “sets a dangerous precedent that transgresses the exclusive powers of the legislative branch to initiate, try, and decide all cases of impeachment.”

Legal groups have condemned the Supreme Court’s 8-6 decision granting Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition to invalidate the 2012 appointment of Sereno, the Philippines’ first female Chief Justice, who is facing an impeachment bid in the House of Representatives.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said the ruling robbed the House of its power to impeach Sereno and the Senate to try and convict the Chief Justice, powers set in the 1987 Constitution.

“We cannot issue strong statements on this travesty of the inviolability of the Constitution, yet to back it up with decisive action. We must not allow the Senate to be relegated to a hollow institution howling ineffectually at the margins,” Hontiveros said.

“This is not about the Chief Justice and the accusations lodged against her. This is about safeguarding the integrity of our democratic institutions, diffusing the tension among the different branches of government and preventing a constitutional crisis,” she said.

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TAGS: Maria Lourdes Sereno, quo warranto petition, Sereno impeachment, Supreme Court
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