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Malabo na! Passage of Sereno resolution unlikely after final SC ruling on ouster — Drilon

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By Xave Gregorio

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said there is a slim chance for the proposed Sense of the Senate resolution on the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice to be passed after the Supreme Court (SC) junked her motion for reconsideration, upholding its earlier ruling.

“Sa akin, malabo na [pumasa,]” Drilon said Tuesday (June 19) in a chance interview.

“As a practical matter, the majority in the Senate can assert that the issue is now academic and would therefore be reluctant to debate on the quo warranto Sense of the Senate resolution that is pending in the Senate,” he said.

Still, Drilon insisted that there is nothing wrong with the Senate expressing its opinion on the controversial SC decision favoring Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition, which disqualified and ousted Sereno from the Office of the Chief Justice.

This, even with the possibility that the majority would say that senators can simply express their views individually.

“Pwede pa rin namang ipasa ang Sense of the Senate resolution, which expresses the sense of the Senate insofar as the quo warranto is concerned. There is nothing wrong with agreeing or disagreeing with a decision of the Supreme Court in this case or in any other case,” Drilon said.

The Senate failed to pass the resolution asking the SC to review its May 11 decision on the quo warranto petition on the last session day of Congress before it adjourned sine die on May 31 as two interpellators are still set to take the floor.

But with the SC junking Tuesday Sereno’s appeal to reverse her ouster in an 8-6 vote, Senate President Tito Sotto said in a text message that the resolution is now moot.

“Besides they admitted in interpellation that it will used sa SC,” Sotto added.

However, Drilon denied that the resolution would be used to sway the SC to reverse its earlier decision.

“Ang intention naman nun ay ipahayag sa taongbayan at sa publiko kung ano ang opinyon ng Senado. Hindi po namin sinasabi na ang aming opinyon ay dapat sundin,” Drilon said.

Even before the SC’s final ruling on Sereno’s ouster, Sotto and Senator Ping Lacson told Politiko that a majority of senators would be withdrawing their signatures from Senate Resolution No. 738, which was originally signed by 14 senators.

But no senator has came forward to express their intention to withdraw their signatures.

Sereno was removed in an 8-6 vote from her post over her failure to submit all of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth when she applied for chief justice in 2012.

She appealed that this be reversed, saying that the ruling in the quo warranto case should be null and void because the six magistrates who voted to remove her failed to show impartiality in the case.

The Senate is expected to continue with the period of interpellations on the proposed resolution when it returns from an eight-week break.