FILE PHOTO: Supreme Court
Seven out of the eight Supreme Court associate justices who voted to oust former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in a controversial petition for quo warranto are now facing impeachment complaints before the House of Representatives.
The complaints were filed on Thursday, August 23 by some members of the so-called Magnificent 7 opposition bloc.
Justices Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Andres Reyes, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Alexander Gesmundo are charged with culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Tijam and Jardeleza are also charged with betrayal of public trust for their refusal to inhibit themselves in the adjudication of the quo warranto petition despite their patent and continuing ill will, bias and prejudice against Sereno as shown by their respective testimonies before the House Committee on Justice and their statements during the oral arguments in the quo warranto petition.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires, who was one of the eight Justices who removed Sereno, was not included in the complaint because he is no longer an incumbent associate justice.
The complainants, which include Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Akbayan Rep. Tomas Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Jr., said that the ruling which ousted Sereno “is not only errant, it is also malevolent. It is not only bereft of constitutional anchorage, it is also a blatant subterfuge, an orchestrated charade.”
Alejano added, “Anyone abusing their power especially impeachable officers should be held accountable.”
Justices De Castro, Peralta, Reyes and Bersamin are nominated to be the next chief justice.
Under the Revised Rules of the JBC applicants for the position of chief justice facing criminal and administrative case should be disqualified in any position in the Judiciary.
Lagman said, “In this particular case we are saying that the impeachment complaints are even more than the administrative case and by polity of reasoning the impeachment complaint must bar the said justices from aspiring for position of chief justice.” – Grace Casin