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Senate majority won’t urge SC to dismiss quo warranto

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star
Senate majority wonât urge SC to dismiss quo warranto
The CFJ, an organization of 57 different groups, appealed to the Senate to assert its constitutional right and power to try impeachable officials accused of wrongdoing and not allow the SC to take this power away by removing Sereno through a quo warranto petition.
Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Senate majority bloc have rejected the call of the Coalition for Justice (CFJ) to pass a resolution urging the Supreme Court (SC) to suspend the quo warranto proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying it is both premature and inappropriate.

The CFJ, an organization of 57 different groups, appealed to the Senate to assert its constitutional right and power to try impeachable officials accused of wrongdoing and not allow the SC to take this power away by removing Sereno through a quo warranto petition.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said CFJ’s call was premature because the House of Representatives has not officially impeached Sereno yet.

“Wouldn’t that be too presumptuous on the part of the Senate for us to say that we want to proceed with a (theoretical) impeachment trial?” Pimentel said.

In previous interviews, Pimentel revealed his personal view that the Senate has the sole power to remove impeachable officials and that the SC, if it ends up disqualifying Sereno, would effectively take away this power.

Sen. Sonny Angara also aired his position that removing a sitting chief justice through a quo warranto proceeding “would circumvent the Constitution.”

But Sen. Francis Escudero said the CFJ should have brought its concerns before the SC and not before the Senate.

“The House has not yet even impeached her. There is no impeachment case before the Senate to speak of. It would be presumptuous, to say the least, for the Senate to assume that one will indeed be filed sometime in the future against CJ Sereno. So what so-called ‘right’ will the Senate, as an institution, be asserting and fight for? Our putative right to try a non-existent impeachment case?” Escudero said. 

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Constitution is very clear on the separation of powers as a fundamental principle in the system of government in the country.

Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the minority bloc has the same stand as the CFJ, which recently published its petition whose signatories include Sens. Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV.

COALITION FOR JUSTICE

MARIA LOURDES SERENO

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