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Speaker on quo warranto petition versus Sereno: ‘Tama ‘yun’

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the filing of a petition for quo warranto by the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court to question the validity of the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was a proper course of action.

In an ambush interview, Alvarez noted that on-going impeachment process and the quo warranto petition of the Sol Gen are two separate causes of action that can proceed independently of each other.

“Well tama yun eh, yung quo warranto. Kasi dalawang causes of action di ba? Yung impeachment exclusive yun sa Congress but it presupposes a valid appointment. Ngayon yung quo warranto kinukwestyon yung appointment itself, yung validity. So tama yun kasi yun naman ay palagay ko talagang exclusive din ng judicial branch of government,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez allayed concerns that the quo warranto proceedings lodged against Sereno would set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgates of similar suits to seek the ouster of impeachable officials.

“Ah hindi naman, kasi ang kino-quo warranto dito yung validity nung appointment. Kasi kung talaga namang nag comply yung isang appointee sa lahat ng requirement so papano ka mako-quo warranto?” Alvarez said.

Likewise, Alvarez dismissed the contention of Sereno’s camp that her appointment as Chief Justice is valid because it complied with the basic constitutional requirements and that the submission of the SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth) is just a supplementary requirement imposed by the Judicial and Bar Council.

“Hindi, yung SALN kasi nasa Constitution yun. Lahat ng government employees kinakailangang mag-submit ng SALN, nasa Constitution yan. Kaya pag hindi ka nag-submit ng SALN hindi lang administrative kundi baka may criminal liability pa yan,” Alvarez said.

Under Article XI, Section 17 of the Constitution provides that: “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth.”

“As a lawyer, tingin ko may basehan,” Alvarez said.