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Motion to intervene quo warranto vs. Sereno filed anew

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, 23 March 2018 05:09 PM

FILE PHOTO: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday filed before the Supreme Court the second motion to intervene in the quo warranto plea against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The motion aims to seek for court’s approval to allow them to weigh the petition which asks for the nullification of the appointment of the highest court official.

This is aside from the deliberation that will be done by the magistrates of the Supreme Court.

“We think that this is a very critical period in the democratic life of the country. Whether or not, the judiciary will be strengthened, will more or less be determined by events that led to the filing of the impeachment complaint at a quo warranto petition by the republic,” IBP Pres. Abdiel Fajardo.

This, they said is a threat to the freedom of public officials who will go against the ideals of the administration.

It’s also a form of shortcut to the impeachment process since under the Constitution — it is only through impeachment in which the chief justice can be removed for an impeachable offense.

“We will be participating as opposition, possibly if we are granted permission by the court,” Fajardo said.

— Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue


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REPASO 2018: The year of power struggle: Who’s in, who’s out?

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 31 December 2018 04:47 PM

(L-R) House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Tension filled the House of Representatives hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third state of the nation address (SONA) on July 23.

Several members of the House wanted the ouster of then House Speaker and Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez to give way to Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Later on, the microphones at the podium went off preventing Arroyo allies to speak. The HOR’s mace or the official seal was also nowhere to be found.

But nothing could stop the pro-Arroyo lawmakers as they held their own voting and elected Arroyo as the new Speaker of the House.

The commotion delayed the President’s SONA for an hour tagging Arroyo as ‘scene-stealer’ and ‘attention grabber’.

The President’s SONA went on with Alvarez still the House Speaker alongside the Senate President at the podium.

The SONA went smooth as if nothing happened but after the President left the Lower House, over 200 congressmen resumed an extended session to formalize the voting.

184 congressmen voted ‘yes’ to Arroyo while 12 abstained.

“There are no rules being followed, walang saysay ito,” argued Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Minutes later, Arroyo sworn into office.


Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (right, wearing pink) being sworn into office by Ang Kabuhayan Rep. Dennis Laogan

But the drama did not end there because what followed next was dubbed as the ‘House Minority squabble’.

Most members of the House opposed Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez to be the House Minority leader as he was among the ‘front runners’ of the Arroyo-for-Speaker move.

“This will be a clear culpable grave abuse of discretion on the part of the leadership of the house to recognize Danny Suarez as a minority leader because it would be and admission by the leadership that they conspired with the minority to over throw Alvarez,” argued then House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Rudy Fariñas during the House chaos on July 23.

“Kapag ang pumili at bumasbas sa minority ay majority, ano ang maaasahan natin dito hindi tunay na oposisyon. Sabi nga company union,” said ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio on August 7.

“We need to take it to the Supreme Court para may stability rin para sa House. Nakakahiya para sa ating kongreso na ang minority leader ay in-appoint ng majority,” argued Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo on August 7.

But in the end, Suarez prevailed and the House leadership approved him as the House Minority Leader.

Arroyo allies were criticized for being ‘power grabber.’

“Nakakahiya na pinapakita natin sa lahat na iyong pag-wrestle ng power, parang in full public view,” expressed Vice President Leni Robredo.

But still, the lawmakers maintained that Arroyo’s and Suarez’s position were in accordance with the law.

“There is nothing to correct we stand by our position that the proceedings yesterday were valid, legal and binding, period,” maintained Former Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles on July 24.

After a week, Arroyo and Alvarez had a one-on-one talk to iron out things between them. Arroyo, however, refused to give details on what transpired in the meeting.

When asked about the alleged power struggle, Alvarez said he already moved on.

“Okay naman ako sinabi ko nga ako the pain lasted for only 24 hours after that wala na,” he said in an interview on August 2.

Malacañang, meanwhile, clarified that President Duterte has nothing to do with the squabble in the HOR as the decision has been made purely by the congressmen.

Similar to the Lower House, the Senate of the Philippines also made a sudden turnover of leadership.

Sixteen senators voted to name Senator Vicente Sotto III as the new Senate President in lieu of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.

In an unusual move, Senator Pimentel himself nominated Sotto for the position.

Pimentel said he decided to step down to prepare for his bid in the 2019 elections but reports said the main reason was Pimentel’s inaction on some priority bills such as the Duterte administration’s tax reform and the revival of death penalty.

On December 11, the Lower House passed the proposed Charter change but the Senate remains cold on the matter.

The Supreme Court also had its twists and turn when former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted via quo warranto plea filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Calida argued that Sereno failed to submit her Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) required of a government official. Without this, Calida m, Sereno’s appointment as chief justice was invalid.

Eight magistrates voted for Sereno’s ouster while six opposed.

Justice Teresita De Castro took over the SC and was named the first (official) woman and the shortest serving chief justice in the country.

De Castro retired after six months in office and was replaced by Justice Lucas Bersamin. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Impeachment complaint vs. 7 SC magistrates ‘insufficient in substance’ – HOR

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 11 September 2018 02:55 PM

The House Committee on Justice


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House Committee on Justice ruled on Tuesday (September 11) that the impeachment complaint filed against the seven magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) is insufficient in substance.

The House committee members voted 23-1 to drop the complaint filed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman against SC Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardaleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, Alexander Gersmundo and now Chief Justice Teresita De Castro.

During the hearing, Lagman insisted that the magistrates committed an impeachable offense for not inhibiting from the proceedings of the quo warranto petition filed against former CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno despite them being vocal of their grudges against her, and also for bypassing Congressional power to impeach an impeachable official.

“The Supreme Court cannot be supreme in its errors, particularly in the malicious decision. There is always a way in getting account and that is through impeachment,” Lagman argued.

On the other hand, several lawmakers opposed Lagman’s argument citing that the magistrates acted only as mandated by their judicial duties.

“The justices of the Supreme Court were duty bound to decide on the petition. Their fidelity of to their judicial duty is not an impeachable offense simply because none disagreed with their decision,” said Angkla Party-list Rep. Jess Manalo.

Cavite representative Strike Revilla said there is no reason to punish the magistrates while Rep. Henry Oamenal of Misamis Occidental said: “If the complaint would succeed then there would be no quorum in the Supreme Court.”

But according to House rules, the House Committee’s decision can still be contested and reversed if the complaint obtains 1/3 of the votes in the Lower House. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

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7 SC justices face impeachment raps over Sereno ouster

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, 24 August 2018 02:30 AM


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

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