Lacson argues with Pangilinan: Is Senate ‘encroaching on powers of SC?’
Is the Senate interfering with the powers of the Supreme Court (SC)?
Senator Panfilo Lacson posed this question on Thursday as he challenged a resolution, signed by 14 senators, urging the country’s highest tribunal to review its decision to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition.
Lacson and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan figured in a verbal clash when the latter presented Senate Resolution No. 738 for adoption.
With the resolution, Pangilinan said he was hoping that some SC justices, who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition, would reconsider.
“Right now, there’s a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court. Right now, there’s still a chance that they may correct,” Pangilinan said.
“So that’s the intent of the resolution? To influence the Supreme Court? To reverse its decision?” asked Lacson.
“It is to seek the Supreme Court’s reconsideration…” Pangilinan said.
“Are we interfering in…” Lacson asked again but was immediately cut by Pangilinan, saying: “No we’re not.”
“But that’s the intention as you’ve mentioned. We are trying to adopt this resolution to influence the Supreme Court to reverse its decision because as you said, there’s still a motion for reconsideration so there’s still a chance that the Supreme Court may reverse its decision and that’s the intention of this resolution,” Lacson said.
“Is it not encroaching on the powers of the Supreme Court that has acquired original jurisdiction over the quo warranto petition?” he then asked.
But Pangilinan reiterated that the resolution was not an encroachment on the powers of the judiciary as the Senate was just upholding and defending its exclusive power to remove impeachable officers like Sereno.
Before this, Pangilinan insisted that Sereno’s removal via quo warranto was unconstitutional.
“Who says?” Lacson asked to which Pangilinan retorted, “The Constitution says.”
“But who interprets the Constitution? Is it the Senate?” Lacson asked again.
While he acknowledged that the SC is the final arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution, Pangilinan argued that legislators also interpret it when they craft laws or when they vote in impeachment proceedings.
But Lacson went on and even promised to sign the resolution if his colleague could show him a provision that says Congress could interpret the Constitution.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon stood up and explained that the purpose of the resolution was just to express the sense of the Senate.
“All that the resolution is saying (is) that 14 senators have signed the resolution, expressing the sense of the Senate,. The Supreme Court… can simply say we don’t agree with the Senate and therefore we proceed. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t express our opinion and pass this resolution if the majority of the senators believe so,’ Drilon said.
“And that’s all the resolution is asking for, expressing the sense of the Senate; expressing the opinion of the Senate. We recognize that the final arbiter is the Supreme Court,” he stressed.
For his part, Lacson explained that he was arguing his case in the hope that some of his colleagues, who signed the measure, would change their mind. /kga
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