Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who did not sign the proposed Senate Resolution 738, said some of the 14 senators who affixed their signatures last month realized there was no merit in the arguments contained in the measure.
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‘Senators mull withdrawal of signatures on quo warranto case’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators from the majority bloc are thinking of withdrawing their signatures from a draft resolution questioning the Supreme Court (SC) ruling removing former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in a quo warranto case.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who did not sign the proposed Senate Resolution 738, said some of the 14 senators who affixed their signatures last month realized there was no merit in the arguments contained in the measure.

“They were convinced that there is no merit in the arguments contained in the draft resolution after they heard my arguments,” Lacson told reporters, referring to his debates on the resolution with Sen. Francis Pangilinan during the plenary session after midnight on Thursday.

He said Senate President Vicente Sotto III – who also did not sign the resolution – earlier told him a number of their colleagues in the majority bloc would have withdrawn their signatures had the voting on the measure pushed through that morning.

“They (majority senators) also indicated that (withdrawal of signatures) through their Viber messages in our chat group,” Lacson said.

The resolution was circulated by members of the opposition bloc led by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

The others who signed it were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Sens. Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV and Joel Villanueva.

The chamber temporarily shelved the measure due to lack of time and quorum as Congress adjourned sine die Thursday.

Pimentel said he remains supportive of the resolution.

“I did not sign to influence the court, I signed it to express the sense of the Senate,” Pimentel told reporters.

During their pre-dawn debates, Pangilinan admitted the proposed resolution not only expressed the sense of the Senate but also tried to sway the SC justices to reverse the ruling as Sereno has filed a motion for reconsideration.

Lacson told Pangilinan he was willing to sign the resolution if he could show a provision in the Constitution that allowed Congress to interpret the Charter.

“Has the chief justice been impeached?” Lacson asked, to which Pangilinan replied: “She was removed.”

Lacson then asked whether removing an impeachable official via a quo warranto case was unconstitutional and Pangilinan replied in the affirmative.

“Who said so? Can we interpret the Constitution? Can you show the provision in the 1987, 1973, 1935 Constitutions that says we can interpret the Constitution?” Lacson pressed further, adding that Article VIII Section 5, paragraph 1 states that the SC has primary jurisdiction on interpreting the law.

Lacson raised the question at least four times during their exchange and added that he found the resolution “disrespectful” to the SC. He said he also does not want the SC to meddle in the affairs of the Senate.

Pangilinan said lawmakers also interpret the Constitution “from time to time” and when crafting legislation.

“We are creating a constitutional crisis because the SC has already acted and here we are interfering and trying to influence the SC to reverse its decision,” Lacson said. – With Evelyn Macairan, Christina Mendez, Rhodina Villanueva

FRANCIS PANGILINAN MARIA LOURDES SERENO PANFILO LACSON QUO WARRANTO SUPREME COURT
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