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Impeachment bid vs SC justices has ‘fighting chance,’ complainant says

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Impeachment bid vs SC justices has âfighting chance,â complainant says
Ifugao Lone District Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat Jr. said their impeachment complaints against seven Supreme Court justices has a "fighting chance."
Baguilat staff / Released, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — One of the complainants against the seven Supreme Court justices who voted to oust former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno expressed confidence that their impeachment bid has a “fighting chance” at the House of Representatives.

“We always believe that we have [fighting chance],” one of the impeachment complainant, Rep. Teodoro "Teddy" Baguilat Jr. said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“We cannot let this go. We cannot condone this,” he added.

Last August 23, Baguilat and three other opposition lawmakers, namely Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list), Edcel Lagman and Tom Villarin (Akbayan party-list) filed impeachment complaint against seven magistrates who include Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, whose appoitnment as chief justice has already been announced, for their supposed role in the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno last August 23.

The six other justices named in the impeachment complaint are Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Andres Reyes, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Alexander Gesmundo.

Former SC Justice Samuel Martires was not named in the complaint because he has been appointed as ombudsman. He replaced Conchita Carpio-Morales who retired in July.

The impeachment complainants are questioning the “unconstitutional” move of the magistrates to oust Sereno.

They accused the seven justices of “culpable violation of the (1987) Constitution and betrayal of public trust.”

The lawmakers added that they should be held liable for “usurping the constitutional power” of the Judicial and Bar Council “to vet the qualifications of applications for positions in the judiciary.”

Baguilat stressed that the House of Representatives should react to the Sereno ouster since the House committee on justice was supposed to deliberate and discuss the impeachment case against the former chief justice before the quo warranto petition emerged.

The Ifugao solon believed that removing a chief justice should be handled by the Congress.

Impeachment bid will need supporters

Despite being confident with the impeachment case, Baguilat admitted that it will be difficult since they would need supporters to oust the seven magistrates.

“It's a political issue... It's going to be challenging and difficult,” he added.

Baguilat cited that some of his colleagues already said they did not like the quo warranto petition that ruled out Sereno.

Panel chair Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon (Oriental Mindoro) said the House committee on justice is set to discuss the impeachment case against the seven high court magistrates on September 4.

READ: Panel sets hearing on impeachment bid vs 7 SC justices

IMPEACHMENT

SUPREME COURT

TEODORO BAGUILAT JR.

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