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Solons to seek impeachment of 8 justices over Sereno ouster

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

 

Eight Supreme Court justices in favor of Sereno’s ouster

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Some congressmen are planning to file an impeachment complaint against eight justices who voted to oust Atty. Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC.)

Akbayan Partylist representative Tom Villarin on Thursday, May 17, said the impeachment complaint against the eight justices will be filed before session breaks in June. Villarin is among the so-called “Magnificent 7” in the Lower House who, along with other government officials, oppose the SC ruling to remove Sereno through a quo warranto petition.

He stressed that there is no other way to remove an impeachable government official but only through an impeachment proceeding. He added that the SC’s decision was a show of “disrespect” to an independent body such as the Congress. Villarin and his colleagues will need the support of 98 congressmen to support an impeachment complaint.

The eight justices who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno were Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin and Francis Jardeleza.

Meanwhile, Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocade said, though he agrees with the sentiments of Villarin, he believes there is no point in questioning the High Court’s decision. He added that an impeachment complaint is now useless. He argued that what needs to be done is perhaps to look into the negligence on the part of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) for allowing the appointment of Sereno despite her lack of important documents.

“Ano ngayon ang masasabi ng Korte Suprema doon sa JBC na nagbigay na kulang ang requirements at nangyari nagkaroon tayo ng kaguluhan ng ganito,” Batocabe said.

(What can the Supreme Court say about the JBC that provided incomplete requirements which started this mess in the first place?)

Batocabe warned that a repeated filing of impeachment complaint may weaken the credibility of the Supreme Court as an institution. – Mon Jocson / Marje Pelayo

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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, December 31st, 2018

(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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SC suspends work in all courts for Dec. 26, Jan. 2

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Court employees across the country will have a longer vacation.

This is after the Supreme Court suspended work in all courts in the country for December 26 and January 2.

Based on the advisory issued by the Supreme Court Public Information Office, this is to give officials and staff of the judiciary longer quality time with their families as they celebrate the holiday season . — UNTV News & Rescue

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Supreme Court issues TRO vs Angkas operations

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

(File photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (December 12) issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against a Mandaluyong court’s decision that allowed the operation of motorcycle-ride hailing service, Angkas, to continue.

The Supreme Court’s order states that the authority and mandate of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to regulate all public transport operating in the country should not be disregarded.

In line with this, the LTFRB has set a special board meeting on Wednesday afternoon to create a resolution that will authorize traffic law enforcers to apprehend Angkas motorcycles operating in the streets.

Last September, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213 ruled in favor of resuming the operation of Angkas in Metro Manila. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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