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Bawal ‘yan! SolGen quo warranto petition vs Sereno unconstitutional — Bam

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By: Xave Gregorio

The quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida is unconstitutional as only the Senate, convening as the impeachment court, can unseat Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senator Bam Aquino said.

Aquino said Calida is changing the procedure of removing the Chief Justice from her post, contrary to the Constitution, which provides that Congress has the sole power to initiate and decide on impeachment cases.

“Nakakabahala po na ‘yung napakalinaw na proseso sa ating Konstitusyon, iniiba po ang ginagawang proseso. Sana po, mas maganda, hayaan na lang po ang Kongreso, hayaan na lang po ang Senado na gawin ang trabaho namin,” Aquino said in a chance interview Monday (March 5).

“Ito pong pagbabago ng proseso labag ho ‘yan sa ating Konstitusyon at kailangan ho sigurong tingnan natin kung ano ba ang tamang proseso dito po sa issue na ito,” Aquino said.

Calida filed with the Supreme Court today a quo warranto petition seeking to void the appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice.

Former President Noynoy Aquino appointed Sereno to the top post in the judiciary in 2012, replacing impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Some lawmakers, including House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, say Sereno’s appointment is void from the start as she failed to comply with some mandatory requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied for Chief Justice.

It is alleged that Sereno failed to submit 10 years’ worth of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth and only gave the JBC three of her wealth declarations, and that she failed the psychiatric assessment by getting a score of “4”, when qualified applicants should have scored “3” and below.

Sereno’s camp is confident that the Senate impeachment court will acquit her.

Asked if this is indeed the case, which is why those seeking to boot the Chief Justice from the High Court are resorting to other means for her ouster, Aquino said, “I cannot speak for them, but sa pagkakaalam ko po at sa pagkakaalam ng ibang mga senador, siguro po, malinaw naman sa ating Konstitusyon, kung meroon pong impeachment na gagawin sa Chief Justice o sinumang justice, dumadaan po ‘yan sa impeachment complaint na dumadaan po sa Kongreso at dumadaan po sa Senado.”

Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto said the upper chamber of Congress may start the impeachment trial in July, if the 292-member House of Representatives vote to impeach Sereno.

The House justice committee is set to vote on whether there is probable cause to impeach Sereno on March 8. If they vote in the affirmative, they will prepare a committee report and the articles of impeachment which will be sent to plenary for voting.