Akbayan Rep to file impeachment cases vs 8 SC justices who voted to oust Sereno
An opposition lawmaker on Thursday bared a plan to file impeachment cases against the eight Supreme Court (SC) justices who voted to grant the quo warranto petition which ousted former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin announced his intention to file the impeachment cases at a media forum. He said the move is being supported by the House Magnificent 7 opposition bloc.
“The next proper and logical move is to file an impeachment complaint against the eight justices for culpable violation of the Constitution,” said Villarin.
Villarin said the eight justices “made a very unconstitutional decision by usurping the powers of the Congress” to “solely oust an impeachable official” through an impeachment proceeding.
The eight justices who voted to disqualify Sereno’s appointment last May 11 were Associate Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Francis H. Jardeleza, Samuel R. Martires, Noel G. Tijam, Andres B. Reyes Jr., and Alexander G. Gesmundo.
Villarin said they are going to file the impeachment complaints at the soonest possible time, or before Congress adjourns session sine die on June 1.
“I think it would have bipartisan support from members of the House because I believe that Congress, especially the House would do its constitutional duty of protecting our Constitution and one of the constitutional duties is that Congress is the sole institution in which an impeachment complaint can be filed and heard,” he said.
“This plot to file an impeachment complaint against the eight justices will gain ground in the next few days because I believe civil society groups, even lawyers groups, and from private sector will also support this move,” he added.
For his part, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said everyone should “respect the rule of law” even though he maintained that “it is only Congress who has the right to remove an impeachable official.”
Batocabe also doubted that the planned impeachment complaints would flourish at the Lower House.
“I maintain that it is only Congress who has the right to remove impeachable officials, ‘yun po ang aking pananaw bilang abogado. Ngunit nagsalita na ang Korte Suprema. Pag nagsabi po ang Korte Supreme, ‘yan po ang law. It might be a bad law, it might be a bad decision but we have to respect the rule of law,” he said.
“Pag nangyari ang isang revolutionary move or very haighly devisive decision na to walang katapusang impeachment ito… I can assure you madi-dismiss ‘yan ngayong Congress… Baka sa susunod na Congress pwede… Bilang abogado at respect sa democracy, we have to respect the rule of of law maski mali yan,” he added.
Batocabe also put the blame on the Judicial and Bar Council which was mandated to screen applications for the top magistrate post and approved Sereno’s appointment.
“Sino ba ang nagsasalansan ng mga application, ‘di ba ang JBC? Bakit po pinasa po nila na nakita nilang kulang ang requirements?” he asked. /muf
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