Timeline leading up to Sereno’s ouster

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2018   •   6183

 

Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

 

Revisit the events, allegations and hearings that led to the eventual ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

August 15, 2017
Complainants Eligio Mallari and Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) filed the first the impeachment complaint against of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.

August 30, 2017
Atty. Larry Gadon filed the second impeachment complaint against Sereno also at the House.

September 13, 2017
The House Justice committee opened the impeachment proceedings against Sereno and determined the impeachment complaint filed by Gadon “sufficient in form and substance” while dismissing the one filed by Jimenez.

January 26, 2018
Gadon again filed a graft complaint against Sereno for alleged non-filing of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

February 19, 2018
The impeachment hearing against Sereno resumed at the House of Representatives.

February 27, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc forced Sereno to take an indefinite leave of absence starting on March 1, 2018. Her spokesperson, Jojo Lacanilao, in a separate statement said the chief justice has decided to take a 15-day “wellness leave.”

March 1, 2018
Sereno began her indefinite leave of absence.

March 2, 2018
Atty. Oliver Lozano filed a petition to the High Court to invalidate Sereno’s appointment on the ground that the top magistrate failed to comply with mandatory legal requirements. In a speech at a judicial forum at University of Baguio, Sereno rejected calls for her to resign.

March 5, 2018
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against Sereno before the Supreme Court.

March 6, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc orders Sereno to comment on the quo warranto petition filed against her by the OSG.

March 8, 2018
The justice committee of the House found probable cause to impeach Sereno with a vote of 38-2.

March 14, 2018
The House Committee on Justice deferred its voting on the draft articles of impeachment against Sereno pending finalization.

March 19, 2018
The House panel, voting 33-1, approved articles of impeachment vs. Sereno. The Chief Justice filed her comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

April 3, 2018
The Supreme Court (SC) decided to hold an oral argument on April 10 on the quo warranto petition filed by Calida against Sereno.

April 10, 2018
Sereno faced probing colleagues in a historic first for the Philippine judiciary that a Chief Justice stands at a hearing by her fellow justices.

April 17, 2018
SC set voting on Sereno’s quo warranto case originally on May 17. However, court insiders said the voting was moved to May 11, simultaneous with the submission of the justices separate opinions on the case.

May 10, 2018
Sereno returned to the Supreme Court, ending her month-long wellness leave.

May 11, 2018
The Supreme Court ruled to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice. Voting 8-6, the magistrates granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against Sereno.

It was a moment of historical firsts. It was the first in the Supreme Court’s 117-year history that a chief justice presided over the full court session where she herself was the respondent in a case that was up for deliberation and decision by her colleagues. It was also the first time in the history of the Philippines’ High Tribunal that a chief justice was removed through a quo warranto plea.

— Marje Pelayo | UNTV News and Rescue

 

Alleged violations of ABS-CBN on its franchise sought in Senate

Maris Federez   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing for the Senate to look into the operation of ABS-CBN Corporation in relation to the allegations of franchise violations, following the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court seeking for the revocation of the broadcast network’s legislative franchise.

Senator Grace Poe said the investigation will check on the manner that the said media network complied with the terms and conditions stipulated in the franchise that was approved on March 30, 1995.

The Senate Committee on Public Services which Poe chairs will be the one to set the hearing once the House of Representatives has completed its own investigation on the matter.

Several senators expressed their support on Poe’s move.

“‘Yung senate inquiry, iba naman ang pakay. In aid of legislation, para baguhin ang Franchise Law, para baguhin ‘yung mga telecoms at NTC Act,” said Sen. Imee Marcos.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, however, clarified that this hearing is apart from the Senate’s hearing on ABS-CBN’s application renewal which is currently being heard at the Lower House.

He said Poe’s committee’s investigation will just give an input that will help the Senate determine whether or not ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application must be approved.

It will also give the media network the opportunity to set the record straight on the allegations thrown at them.

“This is a good venue para makita natin kung may katotohanan ba talaga ‘yung kanilang mga allegations. This is a check and balance process. Hindi lang naman ABS ang nagpaparenew ng mass media franchise. Ang daming radio stations, nagpaparenew. And this is the check-and-balance power ng Kongreso,” Gatchalian said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also expressed his support, saying, that Congress is the only body that has jurisdiction to review ABS-CBN’s compliance of its franchise and not the Supreme Court.

“I will support Sen. Poe’s reso. Congress, not the Supreme Court, is the body that has jurisdiction to review compliance by ABS-CBN of the terms of the franchise granted by Congress, especially that there are pending bills seeking renewal of franchise,” said Drilon.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said the matter must be discussed first in a caucus as he believes this might go against the sub-judice rule now that the Supreme Court has given the media network 10 days to give its comment on the Solgen’s petition.

“I will suggest to the SP (Senate President) and our colleagues, we may have to discuss it in caucus first as it may be violative of the sub judice rule, now that the SC has already asked ABS-CBN to file their comment within 10 days,” Lacson said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III will set a caucus on Monday to discuss Poe’s resolution. —(from the report of Harlene Delgado)

OSG files quo-warranto petition vs ABS-CBN before SC

UNTV News   •   February 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor-General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking the revocation of the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, the ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.

Government lawyers accused the television network of “unlawfully exercising their legislative franchises.”

Solicitor General Jose Calida led the filing of the quo warranto petition against the broadcast network.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said in a statement.

Calida asserted that ABS-CBN has issued Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreigners and that ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. has resorted to an “ingenious corporate layering scheme” that transfers its franchise without Congressional approval.

“It also failed to publicly offer any of its outstanding capital stock to any securities exchange within the Philippines within five years from the start of its operations, which is an indispensable condition in its franchise,” Calida said.

The OSG also alleged that ABS-CBN has been operating KBO Channel — a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus “without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission.”

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.

A bill for the renewal of its franchise has been filed before the Lower House in July 2019.

US Senate acquits Donald Trump of Impeachment charges

UNTV News   •   February 6, 2020

US President Donald Trump

REUTERS — President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday (February 5) in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial, saved by fellow Republicans who rallied to protect him nine months before he asks voters in a deeply divided America to give him a second White House term.

The businessman-turned-politician, 73, survived only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history – just like the two other impeached presidents – in his turbulent presidency’s darkest chapter. Trump now plunges into an election season that promises to further polarize the country.

Trump was acquitted largely along party lines on two articles of impeachment approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18, with the votes falling far short of the two-thirds majority required in the 100-seat Senate to remove him under the U.S. Constitution.

The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him of abuse of power stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the Democrats in voting to convict. No Democrat voted to acquit.

The Senate then voted 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress by blocking witnesses and documents sought by the House. A conviction on either count would have elevated Vice President Mike Pence, another Republican, into the presidency. Romney joined the rest of the Republican senators in voting to acquit on the obstruction charge. No Democrat voted to acquit.

On each of the two charges, the senators voted one by one on the Senate floor with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

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