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‘Di dapat makialam ang SC! 14 senators insist impeachment only way to remove Sereno

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At least 14 senators crossed partylines to defend the integrity of the Senate after the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented move, granted the Solicitor General’s quo warranto petition removing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The senators signed Resolution 738 expressing the sense of the Senate to uphold the Constitution on the matter of removing a Chief Justice from office, which is through impeachment.

They filed the resolution on Thursday at past 3 p.m.

They also urged the Supreme Court to review its decision granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida to nullify the appointment of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice for her alleged failure to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) for several years.

Those who signed the resolution were Senate President Koko Pimentel, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon, as well as Senators Loren Legarda, Kiko Pangilinan, Chiz Escudero, Sonny Trillanes, Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Grace Poe, Leila de Lima, Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, and Joel Villanueva.

Aquino said the Supreme Court violated the Constitution with their decision to grant the quo warranto petition “of the administration which unlawfully ousted Chief Justice Sereno.”

“Nilagay nila sa peligro ang demokrasya at karapatan ng mamamayan. Hinahamon ngayon ang Senado na manindigan para sa taumbayan at demokrasya,” he said.

“Ang resolusyong ito ay pagtanggap sa hamon,” added Aquino, a member of the Senate minority bloc.

Those who “failed” to sign it were Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto as well as Senators Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, Ping Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Migz Zubiri, JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, and Cynthia Villar.

Hontiveros said that the high court’s ruling “robbed the Senate of the jurisdiction to remove an impeachable officer through an impeachment trial.”

“The Senate has the duty and responsibility to formally communicate with the Supreme Court and ask it to review its decision and restore balance among the different co-equal branches of the government,” she said.

The resolution stressed that the Supreme Court’s decision sets “a dangerous precedent that transgresses the exclusive powers of the Legislative branch to initiate, try and decide all cases of impeachment.”

“This is not about the Chief Justice and the accusations lodged against her. This is about safeguarding the integrity of our democratic institutions, diffusing the tension among the different branches of government and preventing a constitutional crisis,” Hontiveros said.

“Unfortunately, the SC’s decision severely upsets the constitutional balance of governance and weakened our system of checks and balances. Unless reversed, the decision will virtually render obsolete the country’s constitutional process of impeachment,” she added.