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6 SC justices ​had duty to rule on Sereno quo warranto case ​- Veloso

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The participation of six Supreme Court (SC) magistrates in the quo warranto case that later ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno “may be justified” due to their constitutional duty.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, vice chair of the House Justice Committee, said SC justices who were also respondents in the separate impeachment cases filed by opposition solons in the lower house, were “merely doing their job” as mandated under the 1987 Constitution as the final arbiters of legal issues brought before the high tribunal.

“It is their duty to rule on the quo warranto petition,” said Veloso.

Veloso, a former magistrate in the appellate court, explained that “there would have been no quorum” and no decision could have been reached had the seven justices decided to recuse themselves from the SC deliberation, since Sereno excluded herself from participating in the procedure being the primary respondent in the quo warranto case filed by the Solicitor General.

“Pag nag inhibit (sila), halimbawa… from 1 of the 7, pag nag inhibit, 14 na lang ang justices na nadoon, kase natanggal na itong or nag recuse… nag inhibit na itong si Chief Justice Sereno. Kung 14 na lang, mag iinhibit ang pito, walang quorum. Paano tatakbo ang direct mandate ng constitution,” said Veloso.

The Leyte solon stressed that “inhibition is already out of the picture” since is the duty of the Supreme Court to rule on the quo-warranto case.

The justice panel on Tuesday (September 4), is set to start is preliminary hearing over the impeachment complaints against the six magistrates who voted in favor of the quo warranto case against the former high magistrate.

Included that separate impeachment raps were Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo and newly appointed Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.

Members of the Magnificent 7 bloc led by Albay Rep. Edcel Laman filed the cases that accused the six justices of committing culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for refusing to recuse themselves from the quo warranto case.